Transylvanian sour cabbage rolls

by | Feb 26, 2016 | Meat dishes

Stuffed cabbage can be called as one of the basic foods of the Hungarian cuisine, it has a big cult in the Hungarian inhabited regions, only stews can rival this gorgeous dish in popularity. Depending on which part of the country you live or visit, you can see many different preparation methods and recipes. There isn’t an ultimate version that stands above all, all are great in their way.

Cabbage rolls can be made with sweet or sour cabbage, with or without sauerkraut. The stuffing usually consists of ground pork (sometimes beef is added, too), uncooked rice, onion and spices. Eggs and/or flour are also added  to the meat mass to prevent the stuffing from falling to pieces, but I have already read recipes that leave out these ingredients, and call for an increased amount of rice, instead.

Putting a piece of smoked meat among the cabbage rolls significantly improves the flavor experience, but it’s very important to soak the smoked meat overnight or the dish will be unpalatable salty. Roux is optional, there are people who insist on thickening the cooking liquid with roux, but cabbage rolls without any thickening agent are also perfect. No matter how you cook it, stuffed cabbage is one of those dishes that develops more flavor as it sits. I suggest making this dish beforehand, leftovers always taste better.

Transylvanian sour cabbage rolls
Transylvanian sour cabbage rolls – photo:

Transylvanian cabbage rolls are made with sauerkraut and sour cabbage leaves, turbo charged with some smoked pork knuckle. They are cooked long on the stove and the cooking liquid isn’t thickened with roux. What makes this dish different is seasoning: the stuffing is relished with summer savory and finely chopped dill.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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