this isn't really a side dish, it's supper tonight! in honor of a good friend here, and also in honor of the book i've been reading the last week (poland, by james michener), i decided to attempt a soup-from-scratch based on a polish theme. i didn't have a recipe, so i just went and started with some basic ingredients common in a traditional polish kitchen. i had a meaty ham bone in the freezer and also a pound of kielbasa. i boiled the ham bone for a couple of hours and removed the meat; cut up the kielbasa and set some great northern beans to boil. for other prep work, we diced a pound of carrots, a large onion, four cloves of garlic, a healthy bunch of celery (including the heart and leaves, where the real flavor is!) and a small head of cabbage (which results in a LOT of chopped cabbage). after the ham had boiled for a while, i set about getting all the ham off the ham bone, i sauteed it with the chopped kielbasa in a large pan with a little olive oil while the beans continued to simmer in probably 12 cups of water that the ham bone had been boiling in. when these were browned, i added the carrots, onion, garlic and celery and sauteed these about 10 minutes, then added the cabbage and sauteed everything for another 5 or so minutes. added this (plus all the resulting juices to the beans and broth - also added marjoram, cracked black pepper and a couple of dashes of cavender's greek seasoning (since everything in there is what i would have added individually). just a little salt to taste and we had a good thing going here. after simmering maybe half an hour or so to make sure the beans and the vegetables are soft, it looks like it's about ready to eat. i tasted a bit of it and it is very, very good. not bad for somethng i made up in my head. smacznego!