“This savory, one-pot Croatian recipe has been in my family for generations. My Grandma O., born Agnes Bukovic, must have had it as a young girl in what was then Yugoslavia. She arrived in the United States when she was 16 and eventually raised a family of six kids, including my father, in her Pennsylvania home where kupus i gda was served frequently. My dad and mom cooked it for us five kids only a few times a year. It felt like a special meal; we knew it was ‘Grandma’s recipe.’

The recipe comes from Joyce Oreskovich’s grandmother. It’s written here in her mother’s hand. Photo by Joyce Oreskovich

“I recently came across it in my food-splattered recipe book, written for me by my mom in 1983, and thought ‘soul food.’ This time of year, and these times in general, call for soul food. Is this recipe easily transferable to the general population who will not experience it as comforting soul food? Well, it sure is, if you like sauerkraut and beans and kolbassi. Because that is the sum and substance of this meal. Kupus i gda (translation: sauerkraut and beans) is not for the faint of heart.” — JOYCE ORESKOVICH, Brunswick


Tell us what you’re cooking

Mainers, what are you cooking this spring while you continue to wait out this virus? A favorite family recipe for comfort and consolation? Have you joined the sourdough brigade? Or has pandemic fatigue set in so you’re making the fastest, simplest meal you can devise?

Send us your recipe and a simple snapshot of the dish. Let us know where the recipe came from and why you chose to make it now. Send recipes and photos to [email protected] for possible publication and the chance to share dinner virtually until we can get back to sharing it actually.


Kupus i Gda

“My mom’s recipes are famous for their lack of exact measurements and detailed instruction. Here is the recipe as written by my mom:”

½ pound of pinto or cranberry beans

No. 2 can Sauerkraut (I used about a pound of Morse’s fresh)

Kolbassi (I used ½ pound of fresh from Bisson’s; any sausage that goes with sauerkraut would work)

Cook ½ # pinto or cranberry beans till tender. Add salt. Cook sauerkraut with kolbassi. Put both together.

Now, make “zafrig” (flour and Crisco or bacon fat). About 4 tablespoons flour into about 4 tablespoons of melted Crisco or bacon fat. (Note: you can probably use butter here.) BROWN SLOWLY WHILE MOVING AROUND WITH WOODEN spoon continuously. After it’s light brown, slowly add maybe 2 glasses water GRADUALLY.

When nice and soupy (NOT TOO!) add salt to taste to zafrig; then add zafrig to beans and kraut. Sprinkle generously with fresh black pepper and serve with a baguette or any crispy bread.


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