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Old 11-20-2011, 08:21 AM   #1
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My grandfather's recipe

This we also called "Capushniuk"(not sure of the spelling, could be 'kapusnik' or some variation of such....My Mom called it simply: "Cabbage-Peas". The cabbage was really sauerkraut and the peas were dried, split yellow peas cooked but not to a mush as in soup.
This was served at every special event, Christmas, Easter, birthday feasts, especially Grandpa's birthday, all usually at his house.

The sauerkraut and peas were added to mashed potatoes, which gave it a nice firm consistency; then onions, fried in melted pork fat rounded it off for taste.

He made his own sauerkraut, in a crockpot weighed down with a plate and a big stone.....in the coal storage basement of his house in Montreal. He was a big man, liked big helpings and hardy, fatty meals. He died of heart failure at age 72. Not bad for that time....no heart surgery yet, no BP meds like today. My Irish father, now 85 and still kicking, ate this greedily too, learned to make it after Grandpa died, then passed the recipe and technique on to me. (there's always a technique, right? - and if you don't get the technique correct, the dish will not taste as is should).

Now on to the recipe:

* 2 large cans or jars sauerkraut
* 5 pounds white potatoes, peeled and boiled
* 8 ounce package of dried, yellow split peas
* 1 large or 2 medium sized onions, chopped.
* pork fat (maybe a half pound?) with bits of meat attached, melted in cast iron frying pan. Grandpa used 2 inches of melted fat in an 8-inch pan (which seems a lot, but it helps grease up the potatoes. There is no butter in this dish). You can save the excess trimmings from all your pork roasts and pork chops in freezer so you'll have "enough" when ready to make this dish.
* caraway seed, if you like it...to taste, just a sprinkle, say 1/4 tsp.

You'll need at least two pots (1 large, 1 medium) and an 8-inch cast iron frying pan (cuz the pork fat in which you'll fry the onions, is going to cook hot for a long period of time).

In frying pan, get the fat melting....cut it very small, into say: quarter-inch chunks, keeping some of the meat too (this adds color, flavor). Melt this on low while preparing rest of dish.

1.In a medium-large pot, cook your split peas, just covered in water, bring to a boil then low, and watch carefully. You will need to add water frequently over the time it takes to cook it to perfection (i.e. your choice of texture).

2. In a large pot, cook the peeled potatoes, then mash these.

3. Add sauerkraut and cooked peas to the potatoes, and mix together to a nice consistency. SALT to your personal taste preference. My family likes salt a lot, but we all have heart issues so please use your own judgment.

4. When the fat in frypan has all melted, fry up the onions until just golden. Here's where you can add caraway seed. Lately, I prefer cumin seed, which I believe is in the same family as caraway but less bitter. Some bitter is good for us, apparently.

Mix it all together, heat again if necessary, and yum!

I think this recipe must have been created in wartime, cuz it's a complete meal in itself, is filling and satisfying, goes a long way and lasts about a week in fridge, or can be frozen for several months.

Let me know if you make this, please!

I am also looking to try eliminating the pork fat, making a more vegetarian version by using some kind of oil.....but unsure how that would effect the Slavic ethnic taste. All suggestions are welcomed.

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Old 11-20-2011, 09:36 AM   #2
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Sounds good. Thanks for sharing. Unless the kapusta is well rinsed, the dish should contain more than enough sodium without much if any salt; particularly if boczek is used for the meaty pork fat.
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:38 AM   #3
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Wouldn't be the same without the pork fat...pork fat rules! It would probably taste good with butter, too, but that's not any better for you. Perhaps you could use a little pork fat for flavor and the rest olive oil, and see how it tastes. It would be differents, but it might still be good. The kraut, peas and onions are all very healthy.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:02 AM   #4
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I love that two people have replied to this already! I wasn't sure how it sounds to non-Polish people.
My Scottish hubby refuses to eat this dish most times, says it gives him diarr....but he's averse to sauerkraut for some psychological reason. He also occasionally loves a diet of white bread and cold cuts (yuck).....but he's coming around (after only 33 years of living with me, <rolling eyes>
His half-Japanese daughter, (from his previous marriage) otoh, loves it and recently asked me for the recipe. Go figure.

GOSH, do I look old in this post?!! <hehe>
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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"kaposti" is the latvian word for sauerkraut. this hearty sauerkraut/pea/onion/potato dish is my idea of comfort food at its most satisfying best. i can't wait to make your grandfather's recipe after the holidays. i will be saving up pork trimmings, but i suspect i'll end up buying some fatback or pork jowls to make certain there is enough. eliminating the pork fat would be a travesty imo, and would rob the meal of its "meaty" essence and goodness. (knowing me, i probably won't be able to resist sneaking some duck fat in there--it's so wonderful with both sauerkraut and potatoes.):)
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
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Thank you, Vitauta....I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you make it. Why not before Xmas? It does make quite a lot! Then you'll have some to share. Spread the joy.....
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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perhaps between thanksgiving and christmas for the "kapostu" meal. it will bejust the two of us here--now and for the holidays. my first thought was to halve your recipe, soma, but with it being sauerkraut based and a good keeper, i think we will be able to handle the full size batch of it, no problem. when there is sauerkraut in the house, i'm known for having it as a late night snack, for breakfast, even cold sometimes....:)
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:10 PM   #8
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Is pork fat the same as salt pork?
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:32 PM   #9
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No, pacanis. Salt pork is very salty. I'm referring to just the fat that comes around your pork chops, or some fatty roasts. You don't want the extra salt because sauerkraut is quite salty.
In my grocery store, I can ask the butcher for a bag of the fatty pork trimmings, and he sometimes just gives them to me, free! (he thinks they are just garbage, poor un-knowing man). I'm not going to enlighten him, nor will I give him my recipe, heh.

and Vitauta: you sound like a person with inclinations similar to mine. I think sauerkraut is good almost anytime (except maybe not at breakfast....but I can always be persuaded....)
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:56 AM   #10
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soma, here's my newly revised plan for our thanksgiving meal: if i can get the pork trimmings, coz i guess pork fatback won't work, will it, i will cook up the kapostu meal. this, instead of stuffed pork chops. but i will add pork chops (unstuffed) to your grandfather's recipe. and bread/giblet dressing will be a huge alongside dish. i think it will all come together harmoniously, yess. i have whole dried peas, (green) that i special order, which i'll use instead of split yellow--we prefer the texture of the whole peas.:) i like to think of this type of hearty, comfort food as "proudly peasant"--and perfect for a thanksgiving celebration. now, i need to get busy....thanks for the inspiration, soma--any further suggestions?
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:51 PM   #11
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Thanks Soma.
I've never heard of asking a butcher for pork fat. I wonder if they even save that around here or mix it in with the sausage. I love pork fat, but everything comes so lean these days.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:25 PM   #12
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Well my family would eat this dish with ham, or turkey, and believe it or not, some would top it with a bit of ketchup! There was always black bread served too, un-buttered cuz we didn't need the extra fat.

Usually if I eat a lot of this, I hanker for a salad afterwards (maybe not at the same meal).

as I mentioned, this kapusta dish is pretty much a complete meal by itself, doesn't need much else (except maybe the meat).
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:12 AM   #13
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Soma we have just started our winter cabbage which sounds like your GF's.My wife does it when the first frosts come. Place whole hard white cabbage in the base of a plastic drum pour salt on top then add a few dried corn husks, repeat till the cabbage is used, put a wood block and heavy weight on top then the lid and place in the coldest spot in your yard for two to three months.
The corn husks color the cabbage yellow, it can be rinsed add shredded the fried with speck or sausage, my favorite is Balkans stuffed cabbage leaves called Sarma.
When the cabbage is ready I will give your recipe a go.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:11 AM   #14
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Well now, this sounds like a fabulous project for a cold January weekend. I know a bunch of folks who would show up to eat it.

I never tasted sauerkraut until I was grown. My father thought he didn't like it (although he loved Reuben Sandwiches, go figure) so my mom never served it.

Soma, would bacon fat work for some of the pork fat? (Of course, I could always sub out duck fat...
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:51 AM   #15
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ChefJune: I'm pretty sure that some bacon fat would be delicious....but don't forget it will add salt, unless perhaps you buy the lowest salt bacon you can find. This turns into a pretty salty dish (which I love, but my BP doesn't). And the taste of bacon can be somewhat overpowering in any dish.....I would recommend you try it with simple pork fat first, and see what you think of altering the taste with bacon afterwards. Or be brave and go ahead with bacon....but then you won't know what my Grandpa's dish really tastes like!
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:51 AM   #16
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I made some this week....can you open this link in my web albums?....and if you do, would you be so kind as to let me know if I'm opening too much of my private life to the world? (i.e. can you access my other albums through this link?)
Thanks.

https://picasaweb.google.com/WoodiDi...COnFiIG37f_iVg
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My grandfather's recipe This we also called "Capushniuk"(not sure of the spelling, could be 'kapusnik' or some variation of such....My Mom called it simply: "Cabbage-Peas". The cabbage was really sauerkraut and the peas were dried, split yellow peas cooked but not to a mush as in soup. This was served at every special event, Christmas, Easter, birthday feasts, especially Grandpa's birthday, all usually at his house. The sauerkraut and peas were added to mashed potatoes, which gave it a nice firm consistency; then onions, fried in melted pork fat rounded it off for taste. He made his own sauerkraut, in a crockpot weighed down with a plate and a big stone.....in the coal storage basement of his house in Montreal. He was a big man, liked big helpings and hardy, fatty meals. He died of heart failure at age 72. Not bad for that time....no heart surgery yet, no BP meds like today. My Irish father, now 85 and still kicking, ate this greedily too, learned to make it after Grandpa died, then passed the recipe and technique on to me. (there's always a technique, right? - and if you don't get the technique correct, the dish will not taste as is should). Now on to the recipe: * 2 large cans or jars sauerkraut * 5 pounds white potatoes, peeled and boiled * 8 ounce package of dried, yellow split peas * 1 large or 2 medium sized onions, chopped. * pork fat (maybe a half pound?) with bits of meat attached, melted in cast iron frying pan. Grandpa used 2 inches of melted fat in an 8-inch pan (which seems a lot, but it helps grease up the potatoes. There is no butter in this dish). You can save the excess trimmings from all your pork roasts and pork chops in freezer so you'll have "enough" when ready to make this dish. * caraway seed, if you like it...to taste, just a sprinkle, say 1/4 tsp. You'll need at least two pots (1 large, 1 medium) and an 8-inch cast iron frying pan (cuz the pork fat in which you'll fry the onions, is going to cook hot for a long period of time). In frying pan, get the fat melting....cut it very small, into say: quarter-inch chunks, keeping some of the meat too (this adds color, flavor). Melt this on low while preparing rest of dish. 1.In a medium-large pot, cook your split peas, just covered in water, bring to a boil then low, and watch carefully. You will need to add water frequently over the time it takes to cook it to perfection (i.e. your choice of texture). 2. In a large pot, cook the peeled potatoes, then mash these. 3. Add sauerkraut and cooked peas to the potatoes, and mix together to a nice consistency. SALT to your personal taste preference. My family likes salt a lot, but we all have heart issues so please use your own judgment. 4. When the fat in frypan has all melted, fry up the onions until just golden. Here's where you can add caraway seed. Lately, I prefer cumin seed, which I believe is in the same family as caraway but less bitter. Some bitter is good for us, apparently. Mix it all together, heat again if necessary, and yum! I think this recipe must have been created in wartime, cuz it's a complete meal in itself, is filling and satisfying, goes a long way and lasts about a week in fridge, or can be frozen for several months. Let me know if you make this, please! I am also looking to try eliminating the pork fat, making a more vegetarian version by using some kind of oil.....but unsure how that would effect the Slavic ethnic taste. All suggestions are welcomed. 3 stars 1 reviews
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