Krpice sa zeljem (Pasta with cabbage)

Krpice sa zeljem (Pasta with cabbage)

Krpice sa zeljem (pasta with cabbage) is still a traditional speciality of home cooking of continental Croatia in which financially available ingredients are used to feed the hungry mouths of hardworking villagers and their often large families.

 

It is still known as flekice s kupusom or krautflekrle, a meal which is most often prepared as a side dish with roast meat, but it can still be found as the main meal on the tables of rural households. Although it originates from Austro-Hungarian cuisine, a combination of thick pasta and sweet fried cabbage it is one of the tastes that marks the childhood of many residents of Zagreb County, Zagorje and Međimurje, where this filling meal is regularly served both in nursery and school canteens.

 

The homemade pasta was once prepared without eggs, and the dough would have been rolled out slightly thicker and cut into squares - “krpe” meaning “patches” or “rags”, which is where the Croatian name for it comes from. The essential ingredient of all these old dishes is animal fat, and in this case, it is pig fat, which when used in krpice sa zeljem adds the necessary greasiness and familiar taste.

 

The preparation itself is simple and fast and so this why this recipe is a favourite meal in busy households. A little sugar should be caramelised in the pig fat, and then throw the fresh sliced cabbage leaves on the pasta “patches” until they reach the desired softness of this healthy vegetable. In this stage of the cabbage’s preparation meat lovers can add chopped bacon, and for those who want to increase the meaty flavour, they can add cooked sausages or roasted meat. Considering the simple ingredients, the satiating property of the pasta and greasiness in which this speciality of continental cooking is prepared, krpice za zeljem is often eaten during the fasting period. Today many people make this with shop-bought pasta, however, real gourmets mix the dough and prepare this unpretentious folk dish the way they want it themselves.