If someone asks you to name a Hungarian dish most likely you will quickly say Goulash. But in Hungary another dish at least as popular, is Stuffed Cabbage. But a word of warning, this dish is not for the faint of stomach or on a weight loss diet. Stuffed cabbage is a common meal in every Hungarian kitchen from the lowliest to most gourmet. Especially popular in the winter months, it is made in large quantities. There’s even a old folk saying that like love, cabbage is improved by reheating. Hungarian cabbage is usually made with ground or minced pork. However I will sometimes mix equal parts pork and beef to make a somewhat leaner meal. Traditional Hungarian recipes also call for chopped smoked bacon mixed in with the pork and rice but it is ok to omit this. Most important is to add a piece or two of smoked pork to improve the flavor.
- 1.5 lbs ground pork or equal parts pork or beef.
- 1 Cabbage
- 2 lbs. sauerkraut
- 1 or 2 pieces of smoked meat
- 1 egg
- 4 oz rice
- Sour Cream
- 1- 2 tablespoons Hungarian Paprika
In a large bowl mix pork, egg, washed rice, paprika and a little salt and pepper. To make the cabbage leaves easier to roll, boil the whole cabbage in water for a few minutes. Carefully remove the leaves and fill each one with a spoonful of the mixture. Roll the leaf in and tuck in
the ends. Set the rolls aside. Rinse the sauerkraut if it is too sour and spread half evenly along the bottom of a large pan or dutch oven. Place the stuffed rolls on top and spread the remaining sauerkraut on top. Add the smoked meat and add water just to cover the ingredients. Cook slowly for one and one half to two hours.
Remove the stuffed leaves and thicken the remaining mixture with a thin roux. Mix in two or three tablespoons sour cream. Replace the stuffed leaves and reheat. Sometimes I serve over boiled quartered potatoes but the cabbage can stand just fine on it’s own. Serve with hearty bread and extra dollops of sour cream if desired.
A good wine, white or red will complement the meal or even a fine beer or ale.
And, as they say in Hungary jo etvagyat! (good appetite!).
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