My old neighborhood in San Francisco used to have a fabulous Hungarian restaurant where I loved to go for pork stuffed cabbage rolls. The restaurant has since gone out of business, but my love for the dish remains.
Pork Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe
- 2 lbs sauerkraut
- 1 large head green cabbage
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1/4 tsp of finely chopped garlic
- 1 lb ground lean pork
- 1/4 cup rice, cooked in boiling salted water (yielding 3/4 cup cooked)
- 2 lightly beaten eggs
- 2 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/8 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup water mixed with 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 cup sour cream
1 Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water. If needed, soak in cold water 10-20 minutes to reduce sourness. Squeeze dry and set aside.
2 In a large saucepan, bring to a boil enough salted water to mostly cover the cabbage. Add the cabbage, reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cabbage and let it drain while it cools enough to handle. Pull off 16 large unbroken leaves and lay them on paper towels to drain and cool further. If the inner leaves aren't cooked enough to bend easily, you can return them to the simmering water to cook a bit longer.
3 In a 10-inch skillet, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, until the onions are lightly colored. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, rice, eggs, paprika, marjoram, the onion-garlic mixture, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Mix well with a fork or wooden spoon.
4 Place 2 tablespoons of the stuffing in the center of one of the wilted cabbage leaves and, beginning with the thick end of the leaf, fold over the sides, then roll the whole leaf tightly, as you would a small bundle. Repeat with more leaves until all the stuffing has been used.
5 Spread the sauerkraut on the bottom of a 5-quart Dutch oven and arrange the cabbage rolls on top of it. Add the water mixed with the tomato puree. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pan tightly and cook the stuffed cabbage over low heat for 1 hour.
6 Transfer the rolls from the Dutch oven to a warm plate. Stir the sour cream into the sauerkraut. Simmer another 5 minutes. Lift the sauerkraut onto a serving platter with a slotted spoon. Arrange the cabbage rolls on the sauerkraut and pour some of the sauce over them. Serve any remaining sauce in a sauceboat.
Yield: Serves 4-6.