Sarmale (Romanian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

Sarmale (Romanian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

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Because it's Christmas, I thought, I would share with you a traditional Romanian Christmas dinner. Serve with mamaliga (polenta).


Serves: 6 

  • 1 whole soured cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • oil for frying
  • 6 tablespoons risotto rice
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice bread, soaked in milk
  • salt
  • 100 to 150ml tomato puree
  • 3 slices smoked bacon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 7 peppercorns

Preparation:30min  ›  Cook:1hour  ›  Ready in:1hour30min 

  1. Peel the cabbage leaves one by one, cut them in half if they are too big and remove the stalk.
  2. Dice the onion and carrot then fry them in a bit of oil with the rice.
  3. Mix the mince meat with the egg, fried onion, the slice of bread and a pinch of salt. Be careful not to put too much salt, because the sour cabbage is already salted.
  4. Place a tablespoon of meat on a cabbage leaf and roll it tight then push the ends in with your finger. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leafs.
  5. Chop the rest of the cabbage you didn't use sprinkling half of it on the bottom of the pan then add the tomato puree and bacon.
  6. Put the cabbage rolls in the pan on top of the tomato mixture.
  7. Cover the cabbage rolls with water then sprinkle with the bay leaves, peppercorns and the rest of the chopped cabbage.
  8. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 1 hour or until the cabbage it's softened and the meat is cooked through.

Soured Cabbage

Soured cabbage is the Russian version of the German Sauerkraut, however German Sauerkraut has a very sharp salty and sour taste while the Russian pickled cabbage is more sweet and sour.

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