International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Dušené Zelí

Braised cabbage with onions and peppers

(Czech braised cabbage)

Average: 4.6 (9 votes)

Braised cabbage is a very popular side vegetable in Central Europe, often served with roast meats and dumplings. Cabbage is transformed by a slow simmer, becoming meltingly tender and subtly sweet.

This easy-to-cook vegetable dish is called dušené zelí in Czech, gedünstetes Kraut in German, kapusta duszona in Polish.

4 to 6 servings


  • Oil, butter or lard -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Green or Savoy cabbage, cored and chopped or shredded -- 1 head
  • Water or stock -- 2 cups
  • Caraway seeds -- 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Heat the oil, butter or lard in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium flame. Add the onions and saute until cooked through and translucent, around 3 to 4 minutes. Working in batches, add the cabbage to the pot, sauteing each addition until it is wilted down.
  2. Stir the remaining ingredients into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the cabbage is cooked through and tender.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with roast meats and noodles or dumplings

Braised Cabbage Variations

  • Vegetables: Saute some chopped carrots or bell peppers along with the onions for added color and flavor. You can use 1 pound of rinsed sauerkraut instead of cabbage if you like. Or use a mix of half cabbage and half sauerkraut.
  • Seasonings: Use chopped bacon or salt pork instead of the oil or fat to give the cabbage a pleasant smokiness. Add some chopped parsley, dill or a few juniper berries.
  • Substitute a light white wine, such as a riesling or gewürztraminer, for the water or broth
  • The cabbage can be finished in a warm (350°F) oven if you need to free up your stovetop.


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