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Slow-cooked cabbage turns sweet

Leah Eskin

Cold weather calls for sweater, fire and cozy tradition, such as staying in bed all day, or at least until someone needs a meal or begs to be walked.

Then you can rouse yourself, pull on your gear and stomp out into the chill, grateful to know that it’s really not so bad to be alert, in daylight, in layers.

Just ask cabbage.

The burly ball is all about layers, and cold weather and cozy habits, such as lazing around in a warm oven so long that its crisp, fresh bite mellows to tender sweetness.

At that point it’s no longer called cabbage but kapusta, which, in Polish, means cabbage.

Kapusta is delightful heaped alongside sausage or stirred into noodles and savored on an icy day, possibly from bed.

After all, it’s cold out there.

You deserve comfort.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 21/2 hours

Makes: 6 servings

1 large heavy green cabbage, halved, cored

1 large sweet yellow onion (such as Vidalia)

6 tablespoons olive oil

Pepper and salt

Dice: Cut cabbage into 3/4-inch dice. Cut onion into 1/2-inch dice. In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, toss cabbage, onion and oil. (Go ahead, use your hands.) Season generously with pepper.

Caramelize: Slide pot into a 325-degree oven and let cook uncovered, stirring now and then, until soft, sweet and golden-brown, about 21/2 hours. Season with salt.

Serve: Delicious as a side dish to sausage or roast meat. Or boil a pound of butterfly noodles and toss with kapusta for a classic comfort dish.

Provenance: Eastern European grandmas everywhere.