Some call it the food of the poorest, for some it’s the best vegetarian Polish food. Kapusta with split peas (kapusta z grochem) is definitely worth trying.
I absolutely love it! My grandma who is almost 90 years old makes sauerkraut and peas best. She has kapusta z grochem recipe from her mom. She said that when she thinks of her childhood, eating this dish is the first thing that pops into her head.
My Grandma’s Story
If you are not interested in reading this, just skip till the end, where you will find kapusta z grochem recipe. I think my grandma’s story is worth sharing though.
She was born and raised in the small Polish village, before World War II. They were one of the richest families in Zabratówka (her dad owned a shop) but still she remembers running barefoot in the winter. She says all kids needed to be very fast, otherwise, their feet may freeze to the ground.
She doesn’t really know much about her dad. All she knows that she had a wife before. When she passed away, he married her mom. It’s surprising that my grandma is not sure how many siblings she had because many of them have died when they were kids. Only she and her 2 brothers survived to the adulthood.
When she was a young girl, she married her neighbor (my grandfather). They moved to the city where they built their house with their own hands. Yes, you read it right. From burning the bricks to laying the roof, they did it all by themselves.
In the meantime, my grandma gave birth to her two sons (at home). When she was pregnant with my dad, they were finishing up building a house. She didn’t mind carrying the heavy construction materials.
To be honest, she doesn’t mind doing it till this day.
She is 88 years old now, still living in this house (alone). She became a widow almost 35 years ago but she never complains. She enjoys her life too much, still (!) making new friends, and learning new things.
Babcia Mila is my hero. She has this special feature of being happy and grateful for what she has. She never focuses on shortages that’s why she doesn’t feel miserable being old and living alone in the big house.
She is busy every day, going to church, meeting her friends, and doing household chores. Always smiling, always grateful. God, I wish I was like her at her age!
Anyway, let’s get back to kapusta z grochem recipe. It’s her all-time favorite dish that she cooks at least once a week.
I am giving you the exact same recipe that she uses. I don’t know how old it is but must be from the 19th century or older.
Kapusta Z Grochem Recipe
See also my split pea soup recipe.
If you use dry split peas, you need to let it soak with water at least 12 hours before cooking.
- 2 cans of split peas or 1 ½ cups of dry split peas that you will cook
- 1 average cabbage or 5 cups of sauerkraut (kapusta kiszona)
- 1 onion
- 2 potatoes
- 3 tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons of margarine or butter
- 1 bouillon cube
- If you use dry split peas, place them in a pot or bowl and fill with water. All the split peas should be covered and the water should be at least an inch or two above them. Let them soak overnight.
- In the morning, change the water (drain the split peas and fill with new water). Cook with a bit of salt until they are soft.
- Peel the potatoes and boil them. When they are cooked, mash them.
- If you use saurekraut, cook it with 1 cup of water. When it's soft, drain it. The more water you leave, the sourer kapusta z grochem will be.
- If you use fresh cabbage, chop it finely and place it in a big pot with 1 cup of water and a margarine/butter.
- Finely chop the onion and caramelize it with a bit of butter.
- Wash the tomatoes, chop them and cook with a bit of water until they are soft.
- Mix all the ingredients together. Add a bouillon cube and cook until it dissolves. If necessary, add salt or pepper.
My grandma uses fresh cabbage in the summer and sauerkraut in the winter.
You can mix them as well.
It’s worth knowing that kapusta means cabbage and groch mean split peas. That’s why both names of this dish are correct:
- groch z kapustą
- kapusta z grochem
It means the same, the words are just in a different order.
See also my kapusta zasmazana – Polish fried cabbage recipe.