Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Was Grandma Peeking Over My Shoulder..? I hope

Grandma Lydia
I’m not a natural cook and really don’t love to cook but can tolerate it if I have all the ingredients and it actually turns out.  My Grandma Lydia, she was a natural cook and it was rare that I ever found Grandma outside the kitchen.  A wonderful German cook her favorite things to make were German Chocolate cake, Bratwursts, German noodles and her claim to fame, the Kraut Kugen.   The Kraut Kugan was so delicious that people from outside the family would place special orders.    With a freezer packed it was rare that we would go away from Grandmas house with out a freezer bag full of Kraut Kugans, 4 fit in a bag and we’d see them stacked up tightly in the freezer wishing we’d hear the words “take theme all”, but knowing how selfish that would be considering the size of the families in the Hergert clan. 

We were just greatful for ANY we could have, and normally would come home with 2 bags.  It wasn’t until I decided to make the Kraut Kugans omy own that I understood the task at hand.  Yes, I’m sure she had it down to a science, she had to after making hundreds upon hundreds in her lifetime, but never the less my appreciation for our 2 bags of Kraut Kugans tripled after making my first batch.   That was at least 3 years ago and I haven’t made them since!   It wasn’t because they didn’t turn out, although they weren’t’ quite like my Grandma’s mastered recipe, but it just took a long time!  My own family loved them, and as I put 4 each in a freezer bag and stacked them up in the freezer I couldn’t help but be a little proud and excited about my own stockpile of Kraut Kugans and wonder if Grandma was peeking over my shoulder!  
After numerous requests from my youngest,  saying “when are you going to make Kraut Kugans again?” I decided to take some time and go for it again.  The major task is the chopping of the cabbage into bite size pieces, but this was easily solved by my quiesenart.  After getting the mix done the other challenge is always making the dough!  But this time with ease the dough came out wonderful and it was fun to follow the instructions allowing it to rise and then getting to punch it down a few rounds.  The next challenge is to get just the right thickness of the each square of dough, in order to create the Kraut Kugans just right and keep the filling tucked inside.   The joy was getting them made and eating them and having so many of our own in the refrigerator!    I still don’t get out my Grandma made these so often and nearly every weekend and go to our games, host us for dinner, bowling club, Bunco, AND keep the house spotless! Perhaps because one of her only other guilty pleasures in that era was the Lawrence Welk Show which came on only Sunday nights.  I do remember something still cooking in the oven as she sat on the couch watching.  There wasn't blogging and facebook to steal time either.  Love you and Miss You Grandma.

 A Little Thin on the Filling But Not Bad


  1. Funny..........and hey, my grandmas name was LYDIA and she (obviously) was German.

  2. No Way! That is so amazing! I love that name. I wish I loved it when I named my daughter but I thought it was too grandmaish, but not now.

  3. Just made Kraut Kugan tonight for dinner. I LOVE them and you're right...they are a lot of work. I think I have only made them 5-7 times in my whole life...

  4. AnonymousJune 12, 2012

    50 years ago, a friend's mother made what they called grout kuga. I was reminded of this at her memorial service last weekend...where they served her recipe at a following reception. I hadn't thought of, and certainly hadn't eaten, this dish in decades so I Googled various spellings until I found this site. It's kraut kugan! Thanks for the memories.

    1. wow that is great you found my site and the memory was revived! I have seen the spelling different ways too..I've also seen Kuchan? I'm sure our German friends would know :)

  5. Im making them today!!

  6. I am using hamberger, boiled cabbage, onion, green pepper and what ever else I find. Rolled in a homemade bread. VERY time consuming but ooooo so good.

  7. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    Mmmmmm childhood memory of mine as well. I use ground turkey and pizza dough in mine.

  8. I, too, grew up with these from my grandmother (Maria, not Lydia) who was Volga Deutsch, and knew it as "groutkuga". Wouldn't the correct term be "Kraut Kugeln", or Cabbage Cake?

    I would LOVE the recipe if anyone could please post it, or point to one or more versions they know of online.