Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

This recipe for Hungarian stuffed cabbage or toltottkaposzta is made with ground pork, beef, sliced smoked pork butt, sauerkraut and fresh cabbage. Some traditional recipes are made with whole soured cabbage heads like kiselikupus.

Other popular Hungarian cabbage dishes include layered cabbage (rakottkaposzta or kolozsvari), sloppy cabbage (lucskoskaposzta), and Szekely cabbage (szekelykaposzta), a type of pork stew baked with sauerkraut and sour cream.

What You’ll Need

  • 1/4 cup rice (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground chuck
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon
  • Salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sweet (or hot paprika)
  • 1 head cabbage (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 pounds drained sauerkraut (rinsing optional)
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 pound cooked (or uncooked smoked pork butt, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

How to Make It

  1. Cook rice in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together ground pork and ground beef with garlic, half the chopped onion, egg, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of the paprika and reserved cooked and drained rice. Set aside.
  3. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.
  1. When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.
  2. Place about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side to the middle. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little roll. Cut any remaining cabbage leaves into fine shreds and set aside.
  3. Place sauerkraut in a large casserole dish or Dutch oven (about 6 inches high, 16 inches long and 8 to 10 inches wide) and pour tomato juice on top, followed by slices of pork butt and enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Place reserved shredded cabbage in casserole. Nestle cabbage rolls in the sauerkraut. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 F. Melt lard in a small skillet, and add flour and remaining chopped onion to make a roux. Cook slowly for about 10 minutes or until golden yellow. Turn off heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon paprika and 1 cup cold water until smooth.
  6. Gently remove the stuffed cabbage from the casserole with a slotted spoon to a warm platter. Take a ladleful of sauerkraut broth and whip it into the roux. Return this liquid to the main casserole, stirring well. Bring to a boil. Gently replace stuffed cabbages, cover and bake 15 minutes in the heated oven.
  7. Mix some of the pan juices with sour cream and pour over the stuffed cabbages when serving.

Source: Adapted from "George Lang’s Cuisine of Hungary (Random House, 1994).

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Stuffed Cabbages

Ingredients

  • 2 largebrown onions
  • 2 tbspolive oil
  • 200 glong grain rice
  • 200 gsmoked bacon
  • 1 kgminced pork
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • mild paprika, to taste
  • 1 largesour cabbage (pickled)
  • 1smoked pork shank
  • 1 packetsauerkraut (approx 500 g)

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Finely chop one of the onions. Heat half the olive oil in heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion until lightly browned. Add the rice and stir for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Mince the bacon and combine with minced pork meat.

Add rice to the meat mixture and sprinkle a pinch of salt, pepper, and sweet/mild paprika. Combine these ingredients.

Gently remove or peel off leaves from the cabbage and remove thick stalks from the centre. Place a small handful of meat mixture in one end of the leaf and fold over the top -side.

Roll the leaf up tightly, and tuck the bottom section of the leaf into the roll.

Coarsely chop the remaining onion. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion until soft. Cut the pork shank into small pieces and add to the onions.

Spread half of the sauerkraut over it and sprinkle some paprika. Layer the cabbage rolls over the top and cover with the remaining sauerkraut. Pour over enough water to just cover the contents, and simmer over low heat for 1- 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the rice is cooked.

Serve hot accompanied by a dollop of sour cream

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