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This recipe for Kielbasa Kapusta is my family’s traditional Polish Kapusta recipe made in a slow cooker!
My dad is 100% Polish and he has been talking about his grandmother’s and mother’s Kielbasa Kapusta for decades! When my Polish grandmother passed away when I was 17, I inherited a couple of her cookbooks and her recipe tin. That recipe tin has produced fabulous gems over the years. To surprise my dad on a recent trip back home, I decided to make our family Kielbasa Kapusta recipe for him, but with my own twist!
I kept all of the ingredients and quantities the same, but decided to cook the Kielbasa Kapusta in the crockpot! It’s way more convenient for my lifestyle and I know so many of you will find this cooking method helpful, too!
Another change I made was to cut the kielbasa pieces smaller. This enhanced the flavor of the dish by releasing more of the kielbasa juices AND it allowed more surface area for the kielbasa to soak up the Kapusta juices! Is your mouth watering yet?!
While the Kielbasa Kapusta was cooking, my dad snuck into the kitchen more than once with a huge, nostalgic grin on his face saying, “This smells familiar,” and “Ooohhhh weeeee, is it dinner time yet?”
While I never tasted my grandmother’s version, my dad thought I pulled off a near match. I am SO glad I found and tried this recipe, which gave my dad and me another link to our family heritage, and produced a heartwarming treat we can pass forward to generations to come!
Kielbasa Kapusta Recipe Questions Answered:
What is kielbasa?
Kielbasa is a staple in any Polish home. It is a type of sausage. In the USA it is best known as any kind of meat that is U-shaped with a coarse texture.
What do you serve with kielbasa kapusta?
Kapusta means cabbage so when serving this recipe of cabbage and Kielbasa (sausage), potatoes are a great option. These crispy smashed potatoes are seriously one of my all-time favorite potato recipes. For a classic option check out these creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes. But if you are like me and need more cheese in your life, you will definitely want to make these 3-cheese potatoes Au gratin! If you want to make it a complete Polish meal, then serve this along with my Polish Beet Soup.
How do you make Kielbasa Kapusta?
- First, melt the butter and bacon drippings until foaming stops in a large skillet for a couple of minutes.
- Next, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.
- Then, drain the sauerkraut at least twice, ensuring it is well-drained before putting it in the crockpot.
- Next, add the onions, salt, pepper, brown sugar, water, and kielbasa in the crockpot. Stir everything before you cover it and cook on high for 1 hour.
- Finally, reduce to low and cook for an additional 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy!
Cook’s Note – Kielbasa Kapusta:
- My dad distinctively remembers his mom using bacon drippings that she would keep in the refrigerator for this recipe. If you don’t have any on hand, then substitute 2 additional tablespoons of butter (for a total of 4 tablespoons) for the bacon drippings.
- I like to serve this dish with mashed potatoes (this recipe is SO good!). After all, potatoes, kielbasa, and cabbage are the holy trinity of Polish cuisine!
- The Kielbasa Kapusta is even MORE flavorful the next day! I know hard to believe, right?!
- My family likes to eat leftovers between toasted Kaiser rolls with grainy mustard.
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Cook’s Tools + Products – Kielbasa Kapusta:
- Large Skillet
- Slow Cooker (this is my 3rd slow cooker and the last one I’ll ever own, I love it so!)
- Bacon Drippings
Here’s my family’s traditional Polish kapusta recipe:
Kielbasa Kapusta - slow cooker recipe!
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
- 2 ½ cups sweet yellow onions finely chopped
- 2 32 ounce cans sauerkraut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 3 pounds kielbasa cut into 2-inch slices
- In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter and bacon drippings until foaming subsides, about 2-3 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and edges begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- While onions cook rinse and drain sauerkraut at least twice. Make sure sauerkraut is well drained and add it to slow cooker along with onions, salt, pepper, brown sugar, water, and kielbasa. Give everything a good stir and cover. Cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low and cook for an additional 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve.
This post first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on May 12, 2016. I have since updated the pictures and added a recipe video. The original pictures are below.