Cabbage rolls
Prep Time:
20 Minutes
Cook Time:
30 Minutes
Ready In:
1 Hour 1 Minute
3 large onions, finely diced

canola or olive oil

6 oz smoked pork, diced. Pork neck is the best – see picture of the smoked meat.

5 lbs ground beef (about 92% lean)

2 tablespoons salt

1½ cups long grain rice

½ cup ‘sweet’ ground paprika, plus more for sprinkling the top

3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

78 fermented cabbage leaves (recipe below, or you can purchase them at your local imported goods store)

About 6 smoked pork ribs
On medium heat, sauté diced onions in a little canola or olive oil until they are soft and starting to turn brown. Add diced pork and stir briefly. Increase heat to high setting and add ground beef. Brown quickly to retain the juices. Add salt, rice, paprika and pepper and combine well.

Rinse excess salt off cabbage leaves and allow to drain in a colander. Separate the smaller, broken leaves and set them aside. For the larger leaves: trim the thick middle vein with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors without cutting through the leaf. They will be easier to roll that way.

For each cabbage leaf: fill with about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture. Roll in the palm of your hand by following the photos above, or place each cabbage leaf on a cutting board, and then fill and roll with both hands. Stack sarme on the side until all are rolled.

Drizzle a little oil on the bottom of a large stock pot with a wide base. Using the small, broken cabbage leaves, line the bottom of the pot with a single layer. Arrange sarme seam end up and close together on top of the cabbage leaves. With the seam end up, the sarme will stay intact when you scoop it out underneath it with a spoon when you are ready to serve them. Continue layering sarme until they are all in the pot.

Nestle the ribs in the top layer and fill the pot with water almost to cover the top sarme. Sprinkle generously with more paprika and cover sarme with leftover cabbage leaves.

Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours.

To serve: Carefully spoon 2 – 3 sarme per person, and rib meat into a bowl. Ladle some of the broth into bowl. Serve with warm crusty bread.


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