Krautfleckerl is a rich, hearty fried cabbage and bacon noodle dish with ham and bacon. This rustic German recipe has great comfort food elements: crispy bacon, cubed ham, soft onions, cabbage, tender pasta, and a hint of nutty Parmesan cheese.
Krautfleckerl is also known as Haluski all over Eastern Europe. The two dishes are very similar. In Germany, this recipe is called Krautfleckerl ('crowd-f-lack-earl' ... say that three times fast!).
And as recipes go, this one falls under the 'Hausmannkost'. What is Hausmannskost, you ask? Traditional, rustic, and comforting family food.
EGG NOODLES - Egg noodles, as the name suggests, are always made with eggs. While there are many types of egg noodles, the ones we are looking for here are wide egg noodles. The good news is that they are easy to find, and you'll find them in the pasta section of most American supermarkets.
BACON - Whenever possible, I opt for thick-cut bacon. But you can choose whichever bacon you like best.
HAM - Look for a boneless smoked uncured ham steak.
ONION - I like sweet onions best.
CABBAGE - Look for a cabbage that feels heavy and has relatively few unblemished outer leaves. The leaves should also still be compact and not separate from the steam. A smaller head will be more tender than a larger head of cabbage.
PARMESAN - This is a bit of a substitution. Typically in Germany, we would often use cheeses such as Emmental or Bergkäse (mountain cheese) but also sometimes Parmesan. While you can definitely find Emmental in larger grocery stores, it's often very pricy, and Bergkäse is almost impossible to find.
Thus Parmesan is something we'd definitely also use in Germany, too, and this is why I wrote the recipe this way. And you can find Parmesan at reasonable prices in every supermarket.
If possible, stay away from pre-shredded parmesan. It's full of fillers and preservatives. A block of parmesan is going to be more cost-effective and taste a lot better!
How To Make Krautfleckerl
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve one cup of starchy pasta water.
- Cook bacon and ham until crispy. Remove the bacon and ham with a slotted spoon but keep bacon grease and add olive oil.
- Add the onions and cook until soft and brown in the bacon fat and olive oil.
- Add the cabbage to the onions and cook until wilted.
- Toss in bacon, ham, parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta. Toss until warm over medium heat. If the pasta looks a little dry, add a little of your reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
EXPERT TIP: If you want to enhance the flavor of cabbage, soak your shredded cabbage for one hour before cooking. This will make it sweeter.
Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Cabbage
- Quality cabbage will have no discolored outer leaves and will be heavy.
- The head is compact, and the leaves are not separate from the head.
- Look for cabbages that are on the smaller side, about 2 pounds. They are more tender.
- Cut the cabbage and store it in an air-tight container instead of storing the whole head of the cabbage.
- Turn the cabbage upside down. First, cut it in half and then cut the halves into quarters.
- Put each quarter on its side and use a sharp large knife to slice out the core. Shred the quarters by thinly slicing crosswise.
More Easy Comfort Food Ideas
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- Cook and drain the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve one cup of pasta water.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost crispy. Add the diced ham and cook until it begins to crisp. Use a slotted spoon and remove ham and bacon from the skillet. Set aside.
- Keep the bacon and ham fat in the skillet and add olive oil. Add onions into the skillet, stir occasionally, cover with a lid and sauté for 15 minutes on medium-low heat. The onions should be soft and brown.
- Add the cabbage and sauté until it wilts about 5-8 minutes.
- Add bacon, ham, parmesan cheese, and egg noodles. Toss over medium heat for one minute. If the pasta looks too dry, add a small amount of reserved pasta water. Serve and enjoy.