Pork Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Have you ever had stuffed cabbage rolls with sauerkraut? It’s a classic Hungarian dish. Lightly cooked large cabbage leaves are stuffed with a mixture of paprika-spiced ground pork and pork sausage, and then rolled up into little bundles.

They’re cooked over tomato-infused sauerkraut and then served with a sour-cream sauerkraut sauce. So good!

Like tamales, they take some time to prepare, but the result? Fabulous.

Pork Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Paprika can go flat if it's too old. Make sure you taste test your paprika for cooking with it in this recipe. If it doesn't have a strong flavor, it's no longer good and you'll need to replace it.

Cook the rice while preparing the cooked cabbage.

Caraway seeds can also be used to season the stuffing in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sauerkraut (preferably a good brand, such as Bubbies, that you would find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)
  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 1/4 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3/4 cup cooked white rice (from about 1/4 cup of dry rice)
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika (or plain paprika if your market doesn't offer a choice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram (can sub oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water mixed with 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup sour cream

Method

1 Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water. Squeeze out excess moisture and set aside.

place cabbage in boiling water spread cooked cabbage leaves out to dry on paper towels

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Add the whole green cabbage to the boiling water. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cabbage. Remove the cabbage from the water and let drain until it is cool enough to handle. Pull off as many large, unbroken leaves as you can and lay them on paper towels dry. If the inner leaves haven't cooked enough to bend easily, return them to the simmering water to cook a little longer.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté them until translucent and beginning to color. Add the garlic and cook half a minute longer. Remove from heat.

mix ground meat with spices and rice

4 In a large bowl, place the ground pork, cooked rice, beaten eggs, paprika, marjoram, the cooked onions and garlic, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Mix with your clean hands or a wooden spoon until just combined.

place stuffing in cooked cabbage leaf begin to roll cabbage leaf over stuffing
tuck sides of cabbage leaf in towards stuffing roll cabbage leaves into small bundles

5 Working one at a time, place a couple tablespoons of the pork stuffing in the center of a blanched cabbage leaf. Start at the thick end of the leaf and fold the sides of the cabbage over the stuffing. Then roll up the whole cabbage leaf into a tight bundle. Repeat with the remaining leaves until you have used up all of your stuffing.

place sauerkraut in even layer on bottom of pan arrange stuffed cabbage on top of sauerkraut
pour tomato sauce over stuffed cabbage rolls cook for one hour

6 Place the rinsed and drained sauerkraut in an even layer on the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. Place the cabbage rolls on top of the sauerkraut. Pour the diluted tomato purée over the cabbage rolls. Heat on high to bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the cabbage rolls on a low simmer for one hour.

add sour cream to sauerkraut to make sauce spoon sauce over stuffed cabbage rolls

7 Remove the stuffed cabbage rolls from the pot and place on warm dish. Slowly stir the sour cream into the sauerkraut. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift the creamy sauerkraut sauce onto a serving platter. Arrange the stuffed cabbage rolls on top of the sauerkraut and spoon some sauce over them as well. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

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Recipe adapted from The Cooking of Vienna's Empire, Time Life Books, By Joseph Wechsberg, 1968. Out of print, but often available on ebay.

Showing 4 of 35 Comments

  • Betty Sinclair

    Cabbage does not need to be boiled first. I buy it and put it right into the freezer.The night before I’m making them I take it out of the freezer to thaw. In the morning the leaves are all soft and wilted.They are very easy to work with to fill. Never boil your cabbage again.

  • Lisa

    OMG Awesome. But take 3 hours covered on low. U have to try

  • June

    Elise – I just made these last night for dinner and they are absolutely incredible. They have fabulous flavor and cabbage was perfect- cooked just the right amount! Loved the sauerkraut sour cream sauce too. Thank you so much for sharing such a great recipe.

  • Diane Aragon

    I make cabbage rolls like my polish grandmother did. I cut out the core from the cabbage and then steam it in boiling water. After pulling off the leaves, I fry the bacon and onions, cook the rice and add an egg to keep it together. Add salt and pepper. Pour the bacon and onions in and stuff the cabbage rolls. I put them in a roaster and add butter and water, cover and cook at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. I then fry the cabbage rolls in butter. Delicious!!

  • John

    My friend’s mother only ever makes this dish with either home made or bought saurcraut cabbage leaves. She uses croatian vegeta stock instead of the paprika/tomato based sauce. She serves it with sour cream, horse radish cream and mashed potatoes. It’s only served after resting in the fridge for at least 2 days.

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