Known to Hungarians as Töltött káposzta, this is a staple in every Hungarian home. Now, I know what you’re going to say, ‘every eastern European country has their own version of cabbage rolls’. But the truth is, this one is the best and you can’t change my mind. It’s so easy to make cabbage rolls, guys. So easy. The active part of the recipe comes together in about 20 minutes, and then you put it in the oven and forget about it for 2 hours. Brilliant! Whenever I make this, I’ll double the meat recipe and freeze half so the next time I make it, it takes even less time and comes together even quicker. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Serve this dish with sour cream, and not a small amount of it. Your mouth will thank you!
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Pork
1 cup Rice
1 Red Onion
1 Jar Wine Sauerkraut
⅓ Cup Ketchup
Boil cabbage (all the way submerged) for 10 minutes. This will help soften it up enough to wrap into rolls.
While that’s boiling, dice your red onion and fry it in a little bit of olive oil. We’re doing this more for the flavour and not so much to make them soft. Should take about 10 minutes.
In a bowl, combine your beef, pork, rice (raw!), eggs, cooked red onion, salt and pepper. Make sure this is mixed together really well. Just to touch on the rice here for a second, use plain white rice for this because brown rice takes like 3x longer to cook and don’t cook your rice before mixing it with your meat or it will become mush.
Coat an oven-proof casserole dish with olive oil. Using a strainer, rinse your sauerkraut well, wring out the excess liquid and add half of it to the bottom of your dish. Shred some smoked turkey leg and add half of that on top of the sauerkraut.
Once your cabbage is ready, as carefully as possible, peel off as many leaves as you want. I usually do 8-10 and then I make something else out of the rest of the cabbage. Now, you’re going to cut the main stem/ vein out of the cabbage leaf by slicing all the way down on either side of the stem. This should leave you with two big fleshy pieces of cabbage. This is what you’ll roll your rolls in.
Roll a small amount of your meat mixture into a log. It should not be as wide as your piece of cabbage. Roll your meatball in the cabbage, carefully tucking the sides of the cabbage in so it’s nice and closed, like a burrito.
On top of your sauerkraut and smoked turkey, line the dish with your cabbage rolls. No worries if you have too much meat, I always add a few rolls without the cabbage- because who doesn’t love some plain meatballs.
Add a final layer of strained sauerkraut and smoked turkey chunks on top of the cabbage rolls. Cover with about 1-1 ½ cups of water and cover with a lid or tin foil.
Bake for 2 hours at 350℉. At one hour, check the water levels and decide if you need to add more or not. You don’t want it to be sitting in a pool of water, but you definitely need enough to help cook all of the rice and soften everything up. Add ketchup on top, and spread it around as much as possible and continue baking. The sweetness of the ketchup really adds to the dish. I’ve made it without ketchup as well, and there’s a reason I’m telling you to add it. Don’t omit!
Serve with as much sour cream as your heart desires and enjoy!