Monday, January 3, 2011

Savory Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

On New Year's Day, it's been such a tradition in my mom's and aunt's Hungarian kitchen to have a huge casserole of stuffed cabbage, I have such fond memories from Cleveland, every New Year's Eve was a celebration of family, and friends in our house for the New Year's Eve, in our full "party basement" which most northern houses have...I sure miss that. On New Year's Day, was a huge early dinner celebration at my aunt and uncle's, with our families, siblings, and cousins. Every 1st of the year, my aunt would roast a cute "little" pig...(uggghh) the thought of it now, scares me...I could not be staring the poor innocent piglet in the face...ohh yes, the face, and the poor little mouth with an apple in it!
Anyway, these were traditions of the sixties, and since then, we had our tradition for our children, and times, have changed and we keep moving on with time, moving on to a New Year, and hopefully, a better tomorrow for all!

I have not made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in several years, simply for the reason that my dear departed aunt
who lived next door to us made it every years, here in S. Florida, as my children were growing up, keeping up with the traditions. It's been over ten years that she's gone, and so have the Hungarian traditions.
But of course, if you live near by here, in S. Florida, and  wish to eat authentic stuffed cabbage rolls, you can visit the Hungarian/American club here, locally, in Lake Worth, where they still keep up with the authentic traditions.

Well, for some reason,  when I saw a  spicy Korean condiment of cabbage called "Kimchi" in my daughter's refrigerator, which I thought was so bizarre, because she is so sensitive to hot spices, and that is one spicy side dish! Of course, I ended up with the Kimchi, but that's another story!

I happened to have ground beef, the 1 1/2 heads of cabbage (really need 2) ...2 lbs of authentic homemade Italian sausage from our favorite Italian market, called Mario's in Delray Beach. I did not use Hungarian sausage because smoked Hungarian, or Polish sausage would be perfect for the cabbage, or use smoked ham hocks, which all have so much sodium nitrate, that again, my daughter cannot have, which unfortunately causes extreme headaches for some people.

As you can see, I have my "misen plaz" already set up for the second production...just look at those awesome fresh, and tender homemade sausages. These people have been in the meat market business for at least 30yrs, and the same recipe is passed on from generation, to generation of sausage makers. On the left is my very favorite Hungarian paprika, and on the right is a 32 oz. jar of my store brand's sauer kraut...looked all over for the ones in the bag, but they were all sold out on New Year's Eve. This is a very acceptable kind, better than the ones in the can, which seems soggy to me. This was perfect, and crispy sauer kraut....and it's not just for "hot dogs"
Mix together 1 lb. of ground  beef, 2 links of sweet sausage, removed from the casings, 1 cup of partially cooked long grain conventional rice, like "Uncle Ben's" cooked for about 10 minutes, and drained from the excess liquid. Just mix all the ingredients together with 1 large chopped onion, 2, or 3 cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and of course good Hungarian paprika, about 2 teaspoonful.
I apologize for these cabbage leaves for looking so "raggedy, and retarded" daughter insisted of taking photos, any way!...The cabbage leaves are removed separately with a sharp knife and boiled until they get soft enough to roll. Don't use the inner part, that need to be chopped up, and sauteed. As you can see, I cut most of the hard veins out, they are chewy, and makes it harder to roll.
Actually, this is a perfect leaf, total of 18 leaves. Just scoop out a small portion like this, place in the center, fold the end up from the bottom first, then the top, and fold over the right side, and then the left side to cover, into a little "piggy blanket" cute!
Here comes the good part..."waste not, want not"...the inner part of the cabbage that is crinkly, and cannot be used to roll is chopped up, and sauteed with onions, garlic,  in a small amount of vegetable oil, and about 3/4 cup of water added, and a teaspoon of paprika. Just saute for a few minutes until still crisp, but well incorporated. Adding this, and the rinsed sauerkraut to the casserole.
This is what it looks like, before you place the casserole into a 350 degree oven, covered, with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 1/2 hrs, covered, remove cover, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or so, but not longer. (you don't want cabbage to burn, or brown)
I used 1 15oz. can of diced tomatoes, and poured half of it over the top, added 1 can of water, from the tomato can, drizzle a little olive oil, and ready to bake.
I ended up with extra sausage, mostly the hot sausage, so I sauteed the sausage pieces, added more sauer kraut, and divided the tomatoes, and also added a small amount of water into this casserole, and baked both dishes at the same time in the 350 degrees oven, for a total time of 1 hour and 45 minutes. I seemed to surprise my family, because I started this about 10 AM, and we had an early lunch, along with Lora's lentils, which was ohh, so good. The little ones, like the cabbage rolls, called it "meatballs" but unfortunately, there were some hot pieces of sausages in the cabbage casserole, so that didn't go over too well, but the cabbage rolls were not overly spicy. They were just right...

While everyone slept, I was up early, because the little pets were so happy that I stayed over, they wanted to spend time with me, so I just leisurely sneaked out to the patio at 7:30 AM, had a nice cup of caffe latte, with a piece of my daughter's cake, and I felt so great to be alive, on the first morning of 2011!
This is little Stella...saying "hello"...My granddaughter's second little pup, she just loves the name Stella, and probably would have liked it for herself!
This is Luigi ...Lui, for short, he is my "sweetheart" sweet and loyal-he sulks when I leave their house and sits by the door for a long time. He is ferocious with big dogs, and forgets that he is just a little Chihuahua!
One time he got into a brawl with the neighbor's boxer, jumped up, and bit Charlie's nose, in the meantime, Michetta, their cat, who is also my little buddy, got upset, and he jumped up and bit my wrist, which required immediate medical "outpatient" attention at a nearby walk-in clinic, for fear of getting a nasty infection!...but don't get me wrong, I still love them all!
So, there you have it...all three were hanging out with me on New Year's morning. Michetta, is a male cat, but so sweet and gentle, and he likes to hang out on my daughter's patio. He lives next door, but I seem to have adopted him, because I feed him also! He is a wise and at the same time an adventerous kitty, loves to torture, lizards, and little snakes, and brings them to his owner's front door, who happens to be my daughter and son-in-law's BFF, and traveling companions to North Carolina!


  1. This looks delicious! I love cabbage! Your dog is soo precious!

  2. I love these make them all the time, years ago a friend gave me a tip to freeze the whole head first, they wilt and so much easier to roll. These look fabulous yummy!!! ★•.¸¸.•*¨*❤•.¸¸.•*¨*☆•.¸¸.•*¨*❤
    HAPPY NEW 2011 YEAR!!!

  3. Your stuffed cabbage looks delicious! I would have to make some real soon as I know the family will love them. Happy New Year, Elisabeth!

  4. Mmm - looks great - I love these!!! Stuffed cabbage is my mom's traditional New Year Eve's dish also :)

  5. I love cabbage rolls! If you like, you can read how I make them:
    In my home country (Slovenia)we pickle the whole cabbage heads and they leaves are stuffed with meat and rice and cooked. The dish is called "sarma" and it is very yummy too!

  6. the stuffed cabbage looks delicious. One of my uncles also cooks those little piglet. However scary, I soon forget the look of it once I had a taste. yum.
    Stella is cute. Please tell her Michael says hello too.
    Happy New Year Elisabeth! May this year be joyful and delicious. :)

  7. I think this is what my dad calls "pigs in a blanket." I've been thinking about calling him up to get the recipe. Do you think this would be good to make in a slow cooker or would the cabbage just fall apart?

  8. These stuffed cabbage looks delicious. stella is cute.

  9. Happy New Year Elisabeth. Wishing you the best year yet :)

  10. Excellent... These stuffed cabbage ("sarmale" in romanian) looks delicious. Happy New Year Elisabeth!

  11. Yummy stuffed cabbage rolls,i dont bother to grab some rite now..

  12. Hi Elisabeth,

    Your stuffed cabbage rolls look really nice. I've never tried these. These are definitely going to be on my to-do list.

    How have you been? I've been unable to write a post for the last few weeks. Sometimes all the busy stuff happens at the same time... lol

    Anyway Happy New Year. I'm longing to write my first post of 2011!!

  13. Elisabeth...I love this post!!! The puppies, the kitty, the stuffed husband is of Hungarian descent and he was sadly missing his mom on Sunday and talking about the huge pots full of this stuff...that she would make and the neighbors would all share in...we don't have her recipes but I am going to use yours for a special treat for him...thank you so are a treasure...many hugs!!!

  14. My grandmother always used to make stuffed cabbage but I haven't had it since she passed. This looks awesome! I think I'm going to try and make it with my dad some day soon-thanks for sharing!

  15. Elisabeth, thanks or getting back to me! This is definately going on my list of slow cooker recipes. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

  16. I have to make this, YUM! Thank you.

  17. This looks great! And a very interesting read too. Glad your new year is starting out so beautifully. Hug.

  18. Those cabbage rolls have seriously got me drooling! They look so delicious!

  19. thanks Elisabeth for this post. It reminds of my mom, (she used to prepare these in her "pressure cooker") which to me was an adventure in itself.Mysterious with a hint of danger. and the results always delicious!

  20. We love cabbage rolls Elizabeth and yours look very tasty! Love your furry friends also! xxoo

  21. Happy New Year Elisabeth! Thanks for visiting my blog and your support. This post really brings back memories. My mom used to make cabbage rolls....albeit the Italian version. They look really delicious.

  22. I haven't had cabbage rolls for a really LONG time! I find them taste the best 2nd day...:-)) Yours looks terrific, Elizabeth.

  23. Great recipe Elizabeth..It's funny I just posted a recipe for Stuffed Cabbage a few weeks ago! It's a fav of mine! Funny how the "old fashioned" are the ones we love so much :)

  24. Hi Elizabeth..
    Stumbled upon your blog via twitter.Love it! I make cabbage rolls with ground chicken sometimes & put them in curry sauce .yours look so good..would love to dig in!
    Happy New Year!

  25. Beautiful cabbage dish Elisabeth.

    Love your cute pets - I too have a kitty who visits from next door :)

  26. Love this recipe! I have a head of cabbage in my fridge just waiting for something like this! First time at your blog, found you through Carolyn...will be back for sure, love your header quote!

  27. Oh, my gosh, Lizzie, I would love one of those cabbage "meatballs" right now! I haven't had stuffed cabbage in years, but what a perfect winter dish! Loved meeting all your grand-pets...such sweethearts!

  28. My husbands family makes these on New Year's too. I need to sit down with his Aunt and write down the recipe, hers are so good. You've inspired me to do so. Hope this is a wonderful new year!

  29. My mother used to make these when I was a kid (I got a veggie version), but I have never made them for my kids and I bet they would love them :)
    How sweet those babies are to spend a quit morning with you, they look like they are well loved pets.
    Seems as you had a wonderful Holiday with your family...
    Wishing you, again a most blessed 2011!

  30. What a great wayt to bring in the New Year...good food and such sweet pets. It is so fun to see all of these different traditions. I have never even tried a cabbage roll before, but I know I would love this...I eat a head of cabbage almost every week! Thank you for sharing this recipe with me. I will be making it soon. Many blessings, my friend!

  31. nice recipe .. and ur black dog is just looks like my late black doggy.. i love dogs..

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  32. I am in heaven looking at your photos! I grow up eating pickled cabbage, and still love eating these rolls when my stomach agrees:)) I am making them almost the same way! I love it! Dogs and cat look adorable!

  33. I think these stuffed cabbage leaves are not just a Hungarian tradition. I was born in Romania and every year on December 30th we'd be stuffing the leaves. I hope you don't mind, I'm giving you a link to a Romanian style stuffed cabbage leaves :

    (it is written in English too)

    hope you're having a wonderful day

  34. Thank you friends, for all your kind comments regarding the stuffed cabbage rolls. I wish to express, that I do realize that there are many different ways of making them, from different countries, especially in Eastern Europe, but this particular Hungarian tradition was just a personal note of mine, which does not exclude other nationality traditions, but we all agree that it is a celebration around Christmas, Eve, or Christmas day.

    I did not include my recipe...simply, because I do not have one. This is how I remember the method of making this dish, with a few minor adaptations of my own.

    I appreciate the different ways how different cultures prepare this, and I thank Mateja, and Roxana for offering their method, and every one as well, for sharing your stuffed cabbage memories.

    It's such a wonderful feeling to gather so many different versions, and share memories, of good food, and families!

  35. Mmmm, I love cabbage rolls. I've never actually made them and my husband claims he doesn't like them so I don't have any reason to do so. But maybe I should anyway! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  36. It is nice to see that you are keeping the traditions for generations, far away...

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