20% off selected homecook and professional courses this July & August

Use code SUMMER22 at checkout. Click here for more details.

Cook for Ukraine: Olia Hercules' Braised Cabbage

/ Categories Alumni, #MadeAtLeiths, #LeithsLoves, Guest Chefs & Friends of Leiths / Author:

Cook for Ukraine: Olia Hercules' Braised Cabbage

For a long time I had a real, deep-rooted complex about Ukraine’s cabbage and potato dishes, all too often the only things people in the West associated with Eastern European cooking. But now I embrace them all – none more so than a delicious braised cabbage. This is my mother’s recipe, and it is a pretty common one. When my Cornish friend Sean cooked it, the next day he texted me these beautiful words: ‘I cannot convey how much I loved the cabbage last night, so amazing. It goes so far to disprove the stereotype. I had dreams about it.’ Needless to say, that made my heart sing! Serve this as an accompaniment to poultry or sausages, or on its own with some good bread.


Serves 6

1 small white cabbage
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 onions, thickly sliced
1 1⁄2 tsp caraway seeds
1 large red pepper, thickly sliced
100ml tomato juice (or use the juices from tinned tomatoes)
200g crème fraîche
1 tbsp chopped parsley Sea salt and black pepper


  1. Slice the cabbage into 1cm wide strips and put it into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and use your hands to massage it in well.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or shallow, flameproof casserole over a medium-low heat. Add the onions, along with a pinch of salt to help release their juices and stop them from burning. You could also cover the onions with a lid or cartouche (a circle of baking parchment about the same size as your pan) to speed things up a bit. Cook, stirring every so often, until the onions are soft and turning a deep golden colour. Add a splash of water if they seem dry or are starting to catch a bit.
  3. Now add the cabbage and caraway seeds and turn down the heat to low. Cover with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the cabbage starts softening. If it gets too dry, add a splash of water. Add the red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Gently warm the tomato juice in a small pan, then stir in the crème fraîche and add to the cabbage. Taste the sauce and make sure it is well-seasoned, otherwise the cabbage will be too bland and it will not become the cabbage of your dreams. Cover and braise for another 30–40 minutes – when it is ready, the cabbage should be soft, but not falling apart. Stir through the parsley and serve.

Extract taken from Olia Hercules’ Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine (Bloomsbury Publishing UK, £26 Hardback) Photography © Elena Heatherwick and Joe Woodhouse

To donate, please visit:

Olia Hercules

Author: Olia Hercules


Loading course information...