Sour cabbage rolls

Sour cabbage rolls are a dish served on holidays in East Europe. It is a common ethnic meal named “sarmale”. We find them in countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, but also in Sweden or Finland. This recipe gathers people around the Christmas table (and on other holidays) with polenta and sour cream as a side dish.

Sour cabbage rolls

By November 25, 2013

The traditional way of making them, in the East, is with minced pork wrapped in sour cabbage leaves and spices. You can find sour cabbage at pretty much any grocery store or try the Polish stores. I am going to show you how i learned to do cabbage rolls from my mother, which learned from her mother and so on. This dish is in our traditions.

  • Prep Time : 60 minutes
  • Cook Time : 03h 30min
  • Rating 5 stars - based on 4 review(s)
  • Yield : 8

Ingredients

Instructions

First of all we have to prepare the meat for the rolls:

  • In a pan fry the minced onion with the rice (i let it soak in water before i started cooking because this way it will cook faster). Cook it until the onion becomes translucent.

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  • Mix the minced meat with the fried onion and rice, the spices and two tablespoons of tomato puree. Let the mixture rest a little and taste it to make sure it has all the spices it needs.

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  • Before we start rolling we have to prepare the pot. I am using a clay pot because it gives my food a traditional taste. If you don't have one use a normal pot. At the bottom of the pot arrange dried dill and thyme. Put one layer of chopped sour cabbage and on top of it some smoked bacon pieces.

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  • Remove leaves from the cabbage, one by one. Cut them in half removing the core from the leaf. Now put one piece of cabbage on your palm and one teaspoon of meat and roll them, stuffing the ends in the roll. Proceed like this until you finish the meat mixture.

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  • Arrange them circular in the pot leaving the center empty, fill it with chopped cabbage. In between the cabbage rolls put pieces of smoked bacon.
  • On top put one final layer of chopped cabbage and cover them with water.

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  • Put it in the preheated oven form three hours. After this add over the cabbage rolls a sauce made by mixing two tablespoons of tomato puree with a bit of water.

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  • Put it back in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top has browned.
  • Serve them hot with polenta, sour cream and a hot pepper.

Enjoy your meal!

Tips:

  1. Before you make the rolls i suggest you soak the sour cabbage in water because it might be too salty and sour.
  2. Cooking time for this dish depends on the cabbage. If you are not sure take one roll out and taste it to make sure that the meat and the cabbage are cooked.
  3. This is not actually a tip, more like a dear memory of mine. When my grandma made sour cabbage rolls ("sarmale") she counted before putting them in the pot . She wanted to know how many rolls she made. Of course that me and my little sister where around here yelling different numbers to make her loose count and start over. Naughty kids.
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