The start of fall means dusting off the slow cooker and whipping up a family-sized batch of comfort. Cabbage and sausage is a classic Polish dish that typically features kielbasa and has been enjoyed for centuries. It's a classic for a reason: cabbage is at its best when paired with salt and fat, which are two things that sausage brings to the party. This slow-cooker version is the perfect hands-off weeknight meals that is low effort and high reward.
The most labor-intensive step of this recipe is browning the sausage, which can be skipped if time is of the essence. The bulk of the dish is made up of cabbage, so you can use up the entire head and avoid leftover cabbage quarters floating around the fridge. The cabbage becomes sweet and silky, while the potatoes and carrots become tender and infused with the smoky flavor of the sausage. Aside from being easy to execute, this recipe is budget-friendly thanks to the use of wallet-friendly veggies and an approachable protein like sausage. If you’re looking for a lower-carb option, omit the potatoes and reduce the overall liquid by ½ cup.
Swap Options: If you don’t have apple cider on hand, you can use 1¼ cups of low-sodium chicken broth. I used andouille sausage because I like the smoky heat that it brings to the dish, but feel free to use your favorite smoked sausage.
Technique Tip: Preheat the slow cooker for 30 minutes while you prep the vegetables and brown the sausage. This step ensures that the food starts cooking right away and lessens the time spent in the temperature danger zone (40 to 140 F).
- 24 ounces smoked sausage, such as andouille, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 pound baby red skin potatoes, halved
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Preheat the slow cooker for 30 minutes on low while you chop the vegetables and sear the sausage.2.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat, sear the sausage in batches until browned, approximately 2 minutes per side. Set aside.3.
Add the cabbage, carrots, onion and potatoes to the slow-cooker. Add the seared sausage and any drippings. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the chicken broth, apple cider, vinegar, mustard, thyme and salt. Pour over the sausage and vegetables and cover. Set the slow-cooker to low and set the timer for 4 hours.4.
Serve on its own, over steamed rice or with crunchy bread.