Sweet lamb cabbage stew

Serbian traditional cooking : Lamb cabbage stew

The moment when my husband stays at the Hilton, has a 3 course dinner and yet pines for my home cooking, specifically ” slatki kupus sa jagnjetinom” (lamb with sweet cabbage)….well, I gotta be doing something right! This dish is a Serbian speciality, and was taught to me by my father who is from South East Serbia.

It is rustic, peasant food at it’s best!   Very easy to make and very healthy. So, the scent of cooked cabbage wafts through our home right now, waiting for him to return this evening.    This is a perfect slow cooked dish, so bring out the slow cooker if you are so inclined.

Cabbage is soul food for us Serbs (did you know there is a cabbage festival in Serbia?), connects my hubby to his homeland and is perfect on cooler days (though my husband could eat it all year round)!

No point in posting a photo so here is my version (everyone has their own variation I am sure), for 4 people.


  • 600 g of lean diced lamb shoulder (I use organic lamb)
  • 1 diced medium onion
  • 2 diced cloves of garlic (or to your taste)
  • Small head of cabbage (or half large), roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sweet powdered paprika (approx. 1-2 tablespoon)
  • Crushed chilli
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Vegeta style seasoning (to your taste)
  • Pepper (round or whole)


  1. Heat olive oil in the pan and fry onion and garlic until starts to become translucent. (mmm….smell that?!)
  2. Add some seasoning, bay leaves and half of the paprika you plan to add, just to give the mixture an slight orange/red tinge.  (now, that smells like the start of something good!)  This is your base.  Don’t add flour as you would with other Anglo style stews.   Trust me, don’t.
  3. Fry in the lamb pieces until it starts to brown (they are not rolled in flour).  Some people will add tomatoes or tomato paste at this point, but I leave it out because my husband isn’t really a fan of acidic foods.
  4. If you want it a bit spicier, add some crushed chilli flakes or fresh chilli.  We always do!  Great for your metabolism.
  5. Add the chopped cabbage and mix in the ingredients in the pan or slow cooker.  It all should be almost boiling now.
  6. Put the lid on, turn down the heat and slowly cook for the next 1.5- 2 hours.  The longer it cooks, the more softer everything becomes.  I say 1.5 only if you are really hungry, otherwise wait 2-2.5 hours on a slow heat.
  7. Towards the last 30 mins, I add the remainder of the paprika and stir it in.  Taste, and see if you need a bit more seasoning.  If not, let it finish.
  8. You shouldn’t need to add water because the cabbage lets go of enough for this recipe.
  9. Garnish with some fresh parsley, and chopped tomatoes as a side.   I always serve with a side of fefferoni (hot pickled peppers) for a bit of acidity and bite.

Now share it with someone you love!

Prijatno!    This is said when you serve a meal cooked from your heart, it basically means “enjoy your meal!”

If you try this recipe, please tell me what you think below!  Don’t forget to share it if you love it.



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