This is a family recipe (that I altered a teeny bit–sorry Dad–to be a smidgen healthier), and believe you me when I say that it is well-worth the effort. This is my ultimate comfort food. Growing up, we didn’t have it that often, usually on holidays, but when we did have it, there was always enough leftovers for the rest of the week.
And that’s the best part. It tastes better with every day that goes by.
When I started undergrad, I made this recipe on Valentine’s day during my sophomore year to make myself feel better about the fact that a certain boy was snowed in and couldn’t make it through his treacherous driveway to see me–on what was supposed to be our first “date”. That was a time that most definitely called for comfort food, and luckily since it was a snow day from school I had the required hours to be at home babysitting it while it bubbled on the stove. The next day, that very same date (finally) appeared and approved whole-heartedly of the recipe.
That would be Fritz.
So here it is (and sorry everything is approximated–that’s how you make family recipes):
Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage
- 1 head of cabbage
- 1 large jar/bag of sauerkraut (a pound?)
- 2 onions, one finely diced and one sliced
- 2 C brown rice, cooked partially, al dente
- 1 lb each ground turkey and lean ground beef (you can also use pork and any combination within)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large cans tomato juice
I told you it makes a lot!
First, boil the cabbage, removing the leaves with tongs and cooling in a large bowl. When the leaves get too small to be used for rolls, remove the cabbage and slice the leftovers to use later. Trim down the outer spine of each leaf so they are easier to roll.
Next, prepare the filling for the cabbage. Brown the minced onion in a dash of olive oil, and set aside to cool. Add the partly cooked rice (if you need to be quicker, you can use instant rice and add it dry to the mixture instead), the ground meat, and salt and pepper. Using your hands (sorry, you have to get down and dirty in this recipe), mix it all together.
Now roll the cabbages. Place one cabbage leaf on a board and place a handful of stuffing at the base of the stem, and roll the leaf up. Tuck the edges into the cabbage–see my picture for help. If the cabbage leaf is breaking really easily, it might be undercooked. It’s okay if they break a little though.
Layer the cabbage rolls in a large pot (very large pot) with the sliced onion, sauerkraut, and leftover cabbage. Finally, pour the tomato juice over the top and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for several hours, or until you just can’t handle the delicious aroma for another second.
Serve over mashed potatoes (I used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for some more healthy substitutions). Enjoy!