A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 14, 2008
Kapusta Soup (Polish Cabbage Soup or Sauerkraut Soup)

"Kapusta” is a Polish word (also used in other European languages) for “cabbage.” Riscky’s restaurants (Fort Worth, TX and other locations) were founded by Polish immigrants in the 1920s, and “kapusta” is a dish that accompanied most meals (usually steak). Theo’s Saddle & Sirloin (also of Fort Worth, also from the 1920s) served a similar “kraut soup” in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

There are various recipes for “kapusta,” usually including cabbage, sauerkraut, onions, and tomato juice (or puree).


Wikipedia: Kapusta
Kapusta [kah-POOS-tah], the Polish and the Slovak word for cabbage, is a popular dish in Polish cooking and Slovak cooking. Its primary ingredient has been pickled into sauerkraut and, in some places, kapusta simply refers to this plain sauerkraut. But in many other homes, this base is frequently amplified with a mix of mushrooms and onions, and that is what is meant by the term kapusta. Some cooks also add meat (usually pork, either rib meat or bacon), resulting in what is often called bigos.

In some homes, kapusta is served very thin, almost like a soup. In others, its ingredients are cooked until it becomes nearly as thick as mashed potatoes.

Kapusta is less ubiquitous in Polish cooking than kimchi is in Korean cuisine, but both serve a similar role in adding bulk to the meal and a background flavor that other foods play off of.
Kapusta is also a Croatian and Polish surname.

Cooks.com
KAPUSTA (Cabbage Soup)
1 lg. (28 oz.) sauerkraut or 2 (16 oz.) cans, drained and rinsed
1 med. cabbage, chopped or shredded
Water to cover both
2 c. cooked pork chops or leftover pork roast
Salt
Pepper
1 can niblets corn or frozen corn, if desired

Cook until cabbage is cooked. Add the pork roast or chops. Keep enough water to cover. Add salt and pepper. Cook about 2 hours, adding water as needed. Cook slowly. Add the corn and continue cooking until heated through. Serve hot.

Riscky’s (Fort Worth, TX)
Our Famous Kapusta Soup
cup $2.95, bowl $4.25
Served here since 1920, sauerkraut soup brought to Texas from Poland. An Olde World delight.

Key Magazine Fort Worth - Dining
RISCKY’S STEAK HOUSE - Want a good steak? Visit Riscky’s Steak House. Order the “Stockyards Special”- a mesquite smoked sirloin strip covered with mushrooms & onions sauteed in a red wine sauce. Complementing the entree can be shrimp, calf fries (this original Western dish can also be ordered as an entree), or onions. Chicken can be fried or grilled. Riscky’s Pork Ribs come as an appetizer & Center Cut Pork Chops are charbroiled for a full meal. Kapusta, a sauerkraut soup recipe, brought from Poland by Mary & Joe Riscky in the 1920s, is served by the cup or bowl.

Google Books
The Red Fog Lifts
by Albert Muldavin
New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company
1931
Pg. 264:
“So you are the gentleman from America who has come to try out our kapusta (cabbage soup) and Communism. I am sure you will go back praising our kapusta.”

Google Books
Ten Years in Russia and Siberia
by Johan H. Wigmans
London: Darton, Longman & Todd
1964
Pg. 89:
Towards midday our second meal: a pint of kapusta, a sort of cabbage soup, and kasha, a local dish consisting of sweet corn or groats boiled in water. 

11 February 1970 Bensenville (IL) Register, section 2, pg. 1, col. 6:
KAPUSTA
(Sauerkraut and Cabbage Soup)
1 large can sauerkraut
1 large head cabbage, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large whole potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons barley (optional)
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 10-ounce can tomato juice

Drain sauerkraut and save juices. Rinse sauerkraut in cold water, drain and squeeze it, saving the water squeezed from the sauerkraut.

Combine sauerkraut and chopped cabbage in a large kettle or Dutch oven. Cover completely with water. Then add an additional quart water. Add the chopped onions, whole potatoes, barley and bacon drippings. Cook at least one hour.

Thicken soup by making the following brown sauce:
2 to 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 small onion, chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons flour

Saute onion in bacon drippings; blend in flour and cook until brown. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.

When brown, remove a couple of ladles of soup from pot and add to brown sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce comes to a boil.

Transfer thickening into the soup through a strainer, catching the onion. This guarantees a nice, smooth thickening. Add tomato juice to the soup and stir well.

If you want the soup to have a more sour flavor, add a ladle or two of the juice from the sauerkraut and the squeezed water. If you prefer a sweet-sour flavor, add about 2 tablespoons sugar.

Cook soup an additional half hour. Remove potatoes; put through strainer and return to soup. This thickens soup a little more. Serve hot. Serves 10. 

11 April 1984, New York (NY) Times, pg. C14:
Q. Have you ever encountered a great cabbage soup called kapusta, made with sauerkraut and meat?
A. Kapusta is the Russian word for cabbage; it does not designate a specific soup. One of the best-known Russian soups is probably schchi, of which there are many versions. It may be made with, among other things, cabbage and beef and bones or sauerkraut and ham. The base is generally rich beef broth.

4 July 1984, New York (NY) Times, pg. C4:
In response to a reader inquiry about a Russian soup called kapusta, I said that the word refers to cabbage and not necessarily to a soup.

I received a number of letters stating that in New England—especially in western Massachusetts— there is a soup of Russian, Polish and Ukranian origin called kapusta. The broth is made with pork bones (generally spareribs) and vegetables. The principle ingredient is sauerkraut; pearl barley and sour cream may be included.

9 February 1994, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “Riscky’s is back in the saddle and almost as good” by Beverly Bundy, pg. 1:
Riscky’s business, in recent memory at least, has been barbecue. But now the family that has put its brand on ribs and sauce throughout the Metroplex is bringing us beef in all its western glories. The family has moved into the spot in the Fort Worth Stockyards that was the home of another Polish immigrant restaurateur - Theo Yordanoff. Riscky’s Sirloin Inn is now serving up the steaks that made Theo’s Saddle and Sirloin Inn a north Fort Worth…
(...)
Another interesting offering is kapusta ($1.50 cup, $2.50 bowl), a sauerkraut soup native to Poland. In fact, the soup is included with steak meals…

25 February 1994, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Riscky’s Sirloin Inn” by Teresa Gubbins:
Of the meal’s “accessories,” the winner was kapusta, or sauerkraut soup, which comes with most entrees or can be ordered by the bowl ($2.50) or cup ($1.50).

18 October 1995, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “Sauerkraut soup spices up a chilly autumn day” by Beverly Bundy, pg. 4:
Alan Perry of Fort Worth writes looking for the recipe for the kraut soup once served at Theo’s Saddle & Sirloin on Exchange Avenue in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The good news is that although Theo’s closed, Riscky’s Sirloin Inn has opened in that location. And the Sirloin Inn still serves the soup. Bad news is, they won’t share their recipe. But not to worry. The following two recipes for kraut soup ran in this column in the…
(...)
KAPUSTA SOUP. Combine stock and sauerkraut and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook onion in vegetable oil until tender. Add onion and tomato puree to ...

Google Books
One Dead Under the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Lori Avocato
New York, NY: HarperCollins
2005
Pg. 160:
The house smelled of baking apple pie amid the scent of my mother’s cabbage soup. Mother called it by its Polish name, kapusta soup. I loved the beef ribs that she cooked in it. When we were kids, my siblings and I used to fight over who’d get to whittle away at the meat on the last bone.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (5) Comments • Friday, March 14, 2008 • Permalink


I used to hate the cabbage soup that babcia made for me, but today, after she has been gone for 35 years, I would give my right arm to taste it again - I miss that wonderful barley pork soup.

Thanks for the recipe that sure looks like what would be in what she made.

My Mom just doesn’t remember how she made it.

Posted by Kenneth Copeland (Pyka - Wdoviak)  on  06/05  at  04:49 AM

Grandmas Kapusta:
large can sauerkraut, chopped cabbage, large can beans or uncooked beans (your choice-but will have to pre-soak uncooked beans first), pigs feet, chopped medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic diced or strained; season to taste- pepper salt, etc. optional; chopped celery.

Cook pigs feet BOIL till tender
combine all ingredients and cook for about 1 1/2 hours

Posted by AL  on  08/17  at  12:52 PM

Here’s a killer recipe from Baba;

I jar sourkraut
1 rack of pork ribs
2 small onions
4 small carrots
2 small potatoes
2 bay leaves
a chunk of salt pork
about 2tbsp. flour
2 cloves garlic
1 small tin diced tomatoes
carton chicken broth

Simmer ribs in broth,,may need to add a bit of water.Skim floating scum,add bay leaves,and one of the diced onions(raw).Simmer till meat falls off the bone,discard the bones.
While this is simmering,add(don’t be shy),black pepper to taste.Pour Kraut,juice and all,keep stirring.
Dice about 1/4 pound of salt pork and render till golden brown,remove from pan,add other diced onion and saute in the pork fat till brown.Add both to broth,fat and all.Cut up carrots and potatoes,add last.Stir in tomatoes and garlic.
In a really hot cast iron pan,sprinkle 2 tbsp. flour,stir with wooden spoon and don’t let it burn,,let it brown up to a dark glden brown,dump into soup,,makes a nice hissing sound !
Your’e almost done,,cut the heat right back to low,add about 3tbsp.butter,,,get out the rye bread and enjoy !!
I dedicate This recipe to My Father who pssed away october 12th of this Year,,,He taught Me this treasured family recipe.There is no other like it(Grand parents are from Poland)
Thanks for reading

Posted by Jim Polischuk  on  11/08  at  03:27 PM

Do you know if Risky’s Steakhouse, Kapusta Soup is published?  We eat there often and I crave the soup.  I would love the recipe.

Respectfully,

Mike

Posted by Mike Ruhland  on  12/26  at  06:05 PM

wow, just checking my memory of my nana’s version, more info then i bargained for. thanks

Posted by ray sotnychuk  on  03/14  at  10:56 PM

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