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Braised cabbage with mushrooms and ham (Solyanka)

Braised cabbage with mushrooms and ham (Solyanka)

I have a friend who claims she doesn’t cook, and yet every time I am at her house, she whips up something outrageously delicious, usually with an interesting twist on classic dishes. Take, for example, this braised cabbage with mushrooms and ham.

This dish, also known as Solyanka (or Soljanka), is very popular in Russia and Germany, and it’s usually made with cabbage, a little bit of pickled cucumber (for saltiness), and a broth. Sometimes the meat is added, too. Well, my friend took this dish to a completely new level, by reducing the broth basically to zero and making it more like a stew, adding wild mushrooms and ham, and using only a very moderate amount of pickled cucumber to add just the right saltiness. She also used only about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for color and to create a very subtle tomato flavor. Oh, my deliciousness! This has become my new comfort food and a favorite way to eat cabbage! Just take a look at this medley of veggies: can you smell the wild mushrooms infused with garlic flavor, tomato, cabbage, ham, and pickle flavors?!

Braised cabbage with mushrooms and ham (Solyanka), Soljanka

Because the vegetables here are cooked in a very little liquid, and simmered at a low temperature (without boiling), all the flavors mingle nicely, and what you get is a perfectly prepared stew! You can serve it as-is, or on top of rice or quinoa!

Braised cabbage with mushrooms and ham, Solyanka, Soljanka, russian food recipe, wild mushrooms

Braised cabbage with mushrooms and ham (Solyanka)

Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • about 2 tablespoons water
  • 8 cups cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 pickled cucumber, finely chopped
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups ham, chopped
  • salt and black pepper

4 servings

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat, add chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until softened for about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat, if necessary, to avoid burning the onions and garlic.

2) Add tomato paste and about 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet, and mix, cooking on medium heat, to make sure the tomato paste is well combined with onions and garlic.

3) On medium heat, add shredded cabbage, finely chopped pickled cucumber, chopped mushrooms and chopped ham to the tomato paste mixture, mix to combine. Add more water if needed, by tablespoons, to make sure your mixture remains moist but not soupy.

4) Reduce heat to simmer and let the vegetables braise on very low heat for about 40 minutes to make sure all flavors blend well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker September 17, 2013, 2:40 am

    Such a delicious looking veggie dish. I adore cabbage so I know I’ll love this. Thanks for sharing Julia!

  • Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com September 17, 2013, 7:54 am

    Thanks so much for passing this dish on! It looks wonderful – I totally understand why it is your fav way to eat cabbage! I have some cabbage I was gonna cook tonight and this recipe gives me an idea to take cabbage to the next level :)

  • Ashley September 17, 2013, 9:27 am

    This sounds so different than the things I normally eat – but I love everything in it! I especially like all the mushrooms in here!

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen September 17, 2013, 9:34 am

    LOVE the pickled cucumber for added zip in this ethnic dish, Julia! My German-Hungarian hunger pangs are kicking in major! Cannot wait to make this comfort meal soon this fall. A keeper recipe, for sure! Thanks for sharing, girl!

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes September 17, 2013, 10:35 am

    Your braised cabbage looks soooooooooooooo GOOD!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 18, 2013, 1:43 am

    Cabbage is one of those underused produce. This looks so tasty :)

  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You September 18, 2013, 9:30 am

    Julia: I love when you feature ethnic recipes here. This braised cabbage looks simple yet quite comforting and delish. It is a dish that I’d be very happy to eat…Pinned!

  • Nik@ABrownTable September 18, 2013, 12:26 pm

    I love your recipes and cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables to eat. I am going to have to make this at home.

  • john@kitchenriffs September 18, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Gosh, this looks so excellent! I love braising things, and cabbage is one of my faves. Such a terrific combo of flavors – gotta try this! Thanks so much.

  • Irina @ wandercrush September 18, 2013, 9:44 pm

    Julia, this is BEAUTIFUL. Braised cabbage is so underrated, and I was honestly just craving it earlier this week. I’m so glad I waited until you posted this recipe, though :) I’ve never heard of soljanka before but it seems like a wonderful version. Thank you!

  • Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch September 19, 2013, 1:02 am

    This is looks so delicious and the pictures are amazing! A perfect fall comfort food!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 19, 2013, 3:05 pm

    Perfect comfort food — love the concentrated tomato paste flavor here :)

  • Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com September 20, 2013, 12:43 am

    Wow this sounds so delicious!!

  • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking September 20, 2013, 3:27 pm

    This looks amazing! I bought a whole head of cabbage yesterday with no plan. I knew you would come through! This looks amazing! Cheers to your friend who “doesn’t cook”!

    Stupid question – what kind of pickles do you use? I have some dill relish that desperately needs to be eaten. Would that work?

    • Julia | JuliasAlbum.com September 22, 2013, 10:27 pm

      You know, I just used a regular pickle, because the pickle acts as a salt in this recipe, and I don’t think dill relish will work as it’s sweet rather than salty. :)

  • Yelena September 20, 2013, 5:30 pm

    I am planning to cook Solyanka for my Russian Mondays, but as a soup. Yours must taste very delicious, it looks scrumptious-))

  • ATasteOfMadness September 20, 2013, 7:24 pm

    I have surprisingly never made anything with cabbage! This looks fantastic!

  • Amy Tong September 21, 2013, 12:41 am

    Don’t think I’ve ever tried a Solyanka before and it looks amazing! Sounds refreshing and very appetizing!

  • Tash September 21, 2013, 12:56 pm

    Oh, this does look delicious. It seems that in the UK, we seem to be having a bit of a eastern-European food boom and have seen a wave of simple, starch-and-cabbage based dishes (though this is to over-simplify the food, as it is far more than that). It’s all very cosy and warming, though, and frugal – just what we need during these lean winter months!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef September 21, 2013, 10:36 pm

    this sounds so amazing! cabbage is really so versatile.

  • Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen September 23, 2013, 10:25 am

    I love to eat cabbage Julia, but its so hard to find different recipes for it. Want to try this!!

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