Eat Your Veggies!

Well, with a little pork.

My mother used to make haluski, which is basically chopped cabbage fried in butter and served over boiled noodles. In the old days, the bubbas made their own noodles, but we used store-bought packaged. As I kid, I was not fond of haluski, but as my palate became more refined, I fell in love with the treasure that is fried cabbage.

I like to eat haluski in the winter and so does Mr. Z. Lately we have been mixing up the basic, simple recipe. Tonight we got a little carried away.


You could make this without bacon and it would still be delicious, but we started with five or so strips of bacon, fried crispy and set aside to drain. I am not ashamed to tell you I used the bacon drippings along with butter to saute my chopped cabbage. Well, a little ashamed, but what's done is done.

One quarter of what must have been a helluva large cabbage, obtained from the Philadelphia Winter Harvest, chopped coarsely, dumped in the sizzling butter/bacon grease mix and stirred around. Helps if you have a nice big pan with high sides for this. Stir and turn the cabbage to coat nicely. I had a few baby organic sweet potatoes that Mr. Z scrubbed clean and chopped up in small bits - throw those in there and stir around.

Put the water on to boil for the pasta while Mr. Z starts peeling and coarsely chopping two medium-sized onions, and then toss those in, too. If your skillet is hot enough and you've got enough butter/grease in there, everything will cook up fine. Just keep it stirred around so it doesn't stick. Pepper, salt, mix it up some more. Mm, sweet potatoes getting tender and it's all looking good. Time to cook the pasta!

Near the end, sprinkle in some black fennel seeds that you just got from Penzey's Spices, just for fun and good looks. Crumble up all that bacon (if you are using bacon) and sprinkle it in the pot and give it another stir. Drain the pasta - small shells are nice for this dish. Butter up the noodles a little, just because. Ladle out a little pasta in your serving dish and then ladle out your haluski supreme on top. And then commence to eatin'. Na zdrowie! and Dobru noc.

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What would have been a shame is letting the bacon grease go to waste. That stuff is cooking gold.

Looks good, too! I wouldn't have thought of sweet potatoes in haluski.

Yum! Ok, sweet potatoes are definitely going in my next batch. Sadly, no bacon though, since tres' treyf ;-).


My family has a variation on this. My great-grandmother (who was from da Olde Countrie) made cabbage rolls with hamburger and rice or potatoes inside. I guess some people call them pigs in a blanket, but we called it haluschka (and still do). I found a short cut, which was just to cut up the cabbage and pan fry everything together (works well with potatoes...not so much for rice unless it's precooked). I've been pretty sad, though, because we always put tomatoes in, and I just found out that I have a horrible intolerance to them. Next time someone asks for this, maybe I'll try it out with sweet potatoes and fennel. Sounds interesting! :-)

I just made this, it was amazing. And I can confirm that fennel seeds do work REALLY well. I put in a small lemon's worth of juice as well, cause I had one.

Crap! I knew I forgot something at the store the other night, CABBAGE! I even bought the "homemade Amish" egg noodles. *sigh*

It's winter. What is it about winter that makes us want these homey old goodies anyway? I've always done mine with a little bit of shredded beef (particularly good use for the fattier trimmings from a larger piece of beef because...well, fat=yum, of course) and cook it with yukon golds and a teensy bit of sour cream and some snipped chives, if I can get to my mother (who's always got a pot of them growing in her kitchen window) I can even sometimes get chive flowers, which are even tastier.

By Kate from Iowa (not verified) on 02 Feb 2010 #permalink

What is the national origin of haluski? I have eaten a lot of Eastern European foods but I've never heard of haluski.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who likes to eat the cabbage/butter/noodles/pork product combo in the winter! I attribute it to my latent (and very small) Irish heritage.

This is new to me, but sounds really good. A few years ago, I melted some butter on a wedge of steamed cabbage and thought, "Why did I wait so long to try this?"

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 03 Feb 2010 #permalink

Thanks for the ethnic info. My family has been here since at least 1688. When I was very young we lived in a Bohemian neighborhood in Chicago. My mother learned how to make the best roast pork I've ever eaten. We later lived in a Polish neighborhood and I ate a lot of Polish food. I never had haluski, though.

So, haluski actually refers to the dumplings or noodles? We never had it with pork fat/bacon and/or cheese of any sort when I was growing up, only cabbage fried in butter and buttered noodles. Perhaps the cabbage was a cheap substitute for the more expensive - or unavailable - traditional ingredients. I do remember plenty of pork fat being around in my youth but not any sheep's cheese.

A few years ago, I melted some butter on a wedge of steamed cabbage and thought, "Why did I wait so long to try this?"

My mother is recovering from multiple orthopedic surgeries, and one day when I asked her what she would have for dinner that night if she could have anything at all, the above is exactly what she requested. (She is third generation Irish-American.)

It was so good my sister says we should need a license to make it!

Of course, it could only be better with bacon.

The Slovaks adore their haluski. Pronounced halushki, though, because the s has a hook over it (Å¡) which turns into into a sh. :-)

I figured "Zuska" musta come from out mid-Europe... :-)

Ooooo, this sounds like it would go perfectly with some Pierogi and GoÅÄbki! I will definitely add this to the list :-)

No reason to feel bad about the bacon fat, it's no worse for you than the butter is, and it is, as stated "cooking gold".

My similar inherited recipe is chopped cabbage, covered in chopped onions, boiled, and then served with chopped fried bacon (and the fat, of course) poured on top.

I'll have to try yours with the other half of my cabbage.

Um. I did not look deep enough. Halushki are tiny dumplings. Made from a dough that has potatoes in it.

The meal described here is called kapustove halusky (cabbage halushki).

This post was the inspiration for last night's dinner, though a lack of bacon in the larder(a temporary circumstance!)required improvisation.
My version included: Italian sausage (cut into bites), bell pepper, onion, chopped cabbage, dash of vinegar, thyme, touch of sour cream and fresh nutmeg, with buttered twist noodles for the base.
It was a success, but I'm anxious to try the recipe as posted. Bacon tops the shopping list. Mmmmmm......

What about caraway seeds? They are great with cabbage. Also available at Penzeys.

Thirding the Penzey's love. Looove Penzey's. We're lucky enough to have a physical store here in Pittsburgh, which means quality time with the "sniff jars" for all the mixes. Overall it's no more expensive than "good" grocery store brands (e.g. McCormick, Spice Islands) and the quality blows them away.

Ashamed of bacon fat? I can't imagine such a thing! Growing up South Side Irish in the '50s we practically lived on Good Ol' Liver and Onions fried up with Bacon (working class people don't sauté; we fry). But finding fresh calves' liver is almost impossible anymore. You almost have to go out and hunt your own cows.

By ChicagoMolly (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink