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Kapusta (Polish Cabbage Soup)

Kapusta is a traditional Polish cabbage soup. This recipe adds stewed tomatoes for an additional layer of flavor. Some recipes include carrots and celery as well. Pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut are the essential ingredients in this hearty, full-flavored soup. For a traditional Polish meal, serve kapusta with rye bread and butter. From the early 1800s to the start of World War II in 1939, about 5 million Polish immigrants came to the United States. Their ethnic recipes were added to the diverse American cookbook.

Recipe Servings: 8

Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time
2 hours 5 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 3–4 lbs of meaty pork ribs such as country style ribs
  • 6 oz diced salt pork (4 oz after removing skin. the fatty type not the meaty type)
  • 1½ cups onion, about one large onion
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb fresh sauerkraut with juice
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, shredded (about 1½–2 lbs)
  • 2 cans (14½ oz each) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 lbs potatoes


  1. Place ribs in large 8-quart pot and cover with water almost to top.
  2. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a low boil. Cook 45 minutes. Skim off foam while boiling.
  3. Shut off burner and let ribs sit in water 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook salt pork in pan on medium high for 2–3 minutes.
  5. Add onion and cook 2–3 minutes until just tender.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add flour, cooking 3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  7. Remove ribs from pot and cool. Save liquid in pot.
  8. Place sauerkraut and juice, shredded cabbage, stewed tomatoes, caraway seeds, salt, and onion-pork mixture to the pot.
  9. Cook on medium high until cabbage is cooked, 30–35 minutes.
  10. Peel and quarter potatoes and place in cold salted water while cabbage cooks.
  11. Place potatoes in separate pot and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium and cook 5–10 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.
  12. Remove meat from rib bones and shred into bite-size pieces.
  13. Return rib meat to soup pot when cabbage is tender. Heat to warm through.
  14. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Add to soup or serve on the side.
  15. Serve hot.

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