Russian Grey Shchi with Cabbage Kroshevo

It is an old and almost forgotten Russian dish. It needs special preparation – kroshevo (medley) – from gray leaves of cabbage. You know, those coarse green cabbage leaves (the first or second layer) that most people leave in the store shelf.

These leaves are very finely chopped, crushed with salt and fermented for a few days. Some recipes ask for 2-3 days for zaparivanie – brewed with boiling water. For rapid fermentation rye flour or sweet carrots were added. Such leaves were fermented in oak barrels, but today I used just a glass jar.

For shchi fermented cabbage was slowly cooked with meat and broth or just with water in the preheated cooling Russian oven, I suggest using slow-cooker. Russian Grey Shchi with Cabbage Kroshevo

About 10 green cabbage leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 medium carrot, grated
6 cups water
1 skinless chicken breast on bone
salt, bay leaf


For kroshevo: finely chop cabbage leaves (cut out the roughest parts if needed), combine cabbage and salt in a bowl, press out with your hands until become soft and juicy, add grated carrot, put into jar, and let stay in room temperature 2-3 days until start to ferment (it means sour smell and bubbles). Or, cover chopped cabbage with boiled water and let stay for 2-3 days, pressing risen leaves. Then mixed with salt and fermented.

For shchi: taste fermented cabbage leaves for sour and salt, if it’s too much – rinse it with cold water. Put cabbage and 1 cup of water into slow-cooker and cook 6-8 hours in low until soft. Good bone with meat (beef or lamb) can be added too if not used chicken.

In a medium pan add the chicken breast on the bone, and 6-8 cups of water to cover, add salt and bay leaf, bring to boil and simmer over medium heat until chicken done.

Take 4 cups of chicken broth, bring to boil, add cooked cabbage leaves and shredded chicken breast, bring to boil and cook about 5 minutes. Let stay covered and serve hot.

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