Braised cabbage with lamb – Kapuska
Winter cabbages are so sweet and tasty, especially when braising gives the such a silky taste. Stuffed cabbage leaves may very well be my winter favorite, but we’ll leave those for another day. In this recipe we are looking a a very easy, fast, midweek, one pan dinner, that is so delicious in its simplicity.
Traditional cuisines have many such little diamonds of recipes to offer, great for both their flavor and their nutritional value through wise combinations. I really feel it is important to bringing them to life in our homes for them to continue to offer comfort and nourishment. As they are not all suitable for commercial kitchen, the only way is to continue handing them down from mouth to mouth or through everyday meals. Traditional recipes might seem simple but that’s only because they have been reproduced and adjusted through generations in times of need and times of plenty, with respect to the ingredients, human labor and nature’s seasonality.
Even though the name Kapuska is Russian for cabbage, the dish is widely enjoyed around the Greek and Turkish parts of Thrace. The Turkish name for the dish, when prepared with meat is Etli Kapuska. It is delicious without it though too and makes for a great vegetarian main or even a side.
If you’re worried if the kids will eat it, ask them to help you out when you’re preparing it. If they’re still wary of new tastes, serve the Kapuska along something they already like. That way they can try as much as they want, without you feeling like you need to pressure them into clearing their plate, or them worrying about displeasing you.
- 1 medium head of cabbage
- 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
- 500 gr. yearling lamb, minced
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 tpsp red pepper paste
- 500 ml homemade stock
- 500 ml water, hot
- salt and pepper
Heat a large, deep skillet. Heat the butter to heat and brown the meat along with the onions. Add the red pepper paste and stir through. Pour in the stock and season. Allow to simmer for 7-8′. Quarter and cote the cabbage, removing any really thick stems. Roughly chop and add to the pan along with the hot water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the cabbage is soft and the liquids reduced. Serve as soon as the liquids have boiled down to a light sauce.
You can serve it with sumak or hot red pepper and yogurt or sour cream.
For the vegetarian option simply omit the minced meat and use vegetable stock. For the Lenten option also omit the above and use olive oil instead of butter.