What is Kecveto? A Complete Guide


Kecveto is a traditional Central European dish made from cabbage and meat. It originated in Hungary but is also popular in surrounding countries like Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, and Croatia. The name “kecveto” comes from the Hungarian word “káposzta” meaning cabbage.

Ingredients of Kecveto

The main ingredients in kecveto are:

  • Cabbage – usually white cabbage or sauerkraut, cut into chunks
  • Meat – typically pork shoulder or sausage, cubed
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • Caraway seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fat – lard, bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • Stock or water

Optional extras include tomatoes, garlic, wine or cream.

How to Make Kecveto Step by Step Guide

Here is a simple step by step guide for making kecveto:

  1. Cut the cabbage into chunks and grate the onion. Set aside.
  2. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Season with paprika, caraway seeds, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the fat in a large pot. Ensure that the meat is brown on all sides before adding it to the skillet.
  4. The meat should be removed from the pot after browning.
  5. Add the onions to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
  6. Add the cabbage and stir well to coat with the fat. If necessary, add a splash of stock or water.
  7. All the ingredients should be stirred together after the meat is returned to the pot.
  8. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes, until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally.
  9. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm with bread or noodles.

Benefits of Kecveto

Kecveto is a hearty and comforting dish with several health benefits:

  • Cabbage is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and antioxidants.
  • The protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins in meat make it an excellent source of nutrition.
  • Paprika contains vitamins A and C, capsaicin and carotenoids.
  • The combination of cabbage and meat makes this a balanced, nutritious meal.
  • Fermented cabbage like sauerkraut adds gut-healthy probiotics.
  • Caraway seeds aid digestion.
  • Onions contain prebiotics and sulfur compounds that boost health.

FAQs of Kecveto

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Kecveto:

What type of cabbage is used in Kecveto?

Kecveto is traditionally made with white cabbage or sauerkraut. Savoy cabbage or napa cabbage can also be used.

Can I use beef instead of pork?

Yes, beef chuck or round can substitute pork in this recipe. Adjust cooking times as needed.

Is paprika essential for making Kecveto?

Paprika is very important for the signature flavor and color of Kecveto. Omitting it would make it taste quite different. Use smoked paprika for best results.

Should the cabbage be raw or cooked first?

The cabbage can be added raw. It cooks down with the meat and tenderizes as it simmers. Pre-cooking is not required.

What is the best side dish with Kecveto?

Classic accompaniments are knedle (bread dumplings), spaetzle, potatoes or rice. Hungarian nokedli (egg noodles) go very well with this dish.

Is Kecveto a spicy dish?

Kecveto ranges from mild to moderately spicy depending on the type and amount of paprika used. Adjust spices to your taste preferences.

Can I prepare Kecveto in a slow cooker?

Yes, Kecveto can be adapted for a slow cooker. Brown the meat first then combine all ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

How long does leftover Kecveto keep in the fridge?

Leftover kecveto will keep 3-4 days refrigerated. The flavors continue to improve, making it great for leftovers.

Final Thoughts

In summary, kecveto is a tasty traditional recipe that provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and compounds beneficial for overall health. The cabbage, meat and seasoning combination makes it a well-rounded, nutritious dish. Kecveto is a hearty cabbage and meat stew that is a beloved dish in Central European cuisine. This flavorful one-pot meal highlights humble ingredients like cabbage, pork, paprika and caraway seeds elevated into a comforting, nutritious dish. Kecveto’s cooking process allows the flavors to mingle and develop over time, while the cabbage becomes tender and absorbs the rich tastes. 

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