(Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls over sauerkraut)
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Cabbage leaves wrapped around a meaty filling and baked in a tomatoey sauce are a common dish on tables throughout Eastern Europe. This excellent Hungarian version seasons the stuffed cabbage rolls liberally with Hungarian paprika and simmers them on a bed of flavorful sauerkraut.
4 to 6 servings
- Oil or butter -- 2 tablespoons
- Onion, finely chopped -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Ground beef -- 3/4 pound
- Ground pork -- 3/4 pound
- Rice -- 1 1/2 cups
- Eggs, beaten -- 2
- Hungarian paprika -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Green or Savoy cabbage, core removed -- 1 head
- Tomato sauce -- 2 cups
- Stock or water -- 1 cup
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry -- 2 pounds
- Sour cream -- 1 cup
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat the oil or butter in a skillet over medium flame and saute the onion until it is translucent but not browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Remove the onion-garlic mixture to a large bowl and cool. Add the ground meats, rice, egg, paprika, salt and pepper to the bowl with the onions and mix together well.
- Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the whole head of cabbage, core-side down and let it simmer for a minute or two. Use tongs to gently tease 8 to 10 large, whole leaves carefully from the outside of the head of cabbage. Plunge them into a bowl of cold water to stop them from cooking more. Remove the rest of the cabbage from the pot and save it for another use. Trim or lightly pound the large vein on the back of each whole cabbage leaf to make it flush with the surface of the leaf.
- Lay a cabbage leaf out on a work surface, vein-side down, and put about 1/3 cup of meat filling in the middle. Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the filling, then fold in each side. Roll the leaf up loosely over the filling like an eggroll. Do not roll up the cabbage rolls too tightly, as the rice needs room to expand as it cooks. Repeat with the rest of the leaves until the filling is used up.
- Mix the tomato sauce, stock or water, salt and pepper together. Place about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish. Spread the rinsed sauerkraut over the bottom of the dish. Place all of the cabbage rolls, seam-side-down, tightly into the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls.
- Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding water or stock to the dish as needed to keep it from drying out (the rice will soak up liquid as it cooks).
- Serve hot from the baking dish, topped with dollops of sour cream if you like.
Stuffed Cabbage Roll Variations
- Saute some chopped bacon and use the fat to saute your onions and garlic.
- Season your meat filling with some chopped fresh marjoram or dill.
- Use white wine instead of water in the sauce.