Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sarmale/ Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls is one of the signature dishes for all Romanian holidays. The origin is disputable, however, as it seems a lot of Eastern Europe nations have this as a traditional dish. However, I like to think of it as a Romanian dish, especially the way we make it.

You will need:

1 medium/large size cabbage
1 lb ground beef
some bacon or any smoked bones (for flavor)
1/2 cup rice
1 medium onion
salt and pepper (to taste-I actually taste the mixture :-)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tbsp dry thyme

To make the cabbage soft enough to roll, you will need to either boil it (which will stink up your home :0), or you can freeze it and defrost it again. Once defrost, you will separate the leaves, and gently squeeze some of the water out. Here's a great tutorial on how to roll your cabbage rolls:

To prepare the meat mixture, you fry the onion in some oil(about 2 tablespoons), then add the bacon (you can skip) and fry it. Add rice and stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the ground beef, add salt and pepper and mix evenly (be careful, it might be hot; don't over-mix either). Make the rolls and place them in circles in the pot. Add the tomato sauce mixed with 8 oz water. Add as much water as needed to cover the cabbage rolls by 1 1/2 inch. Make sure the water/tomato sauce mixture has enough salt, otherwise it will pull out all the salt from the cabbage rolls and they won't taste that good. It should have the same concentration of salt as the cabbage rolls. Add the thyme (and the smoked bones if you chose not to add the bacon) and set to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and let it boil slowly, covered. It will take about 45 min to an hour.
Eat them with sour cream or by themselves.


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