Stuffed Cabbage – Töltött Káposzta

Making stuffed cabbage in Transylvania!

You may notice that the recipe for stuffed cabbage is very similar to that of stuffed peppers, and that makes perfect sense. In fact, the stuffing part is really so similar that you can make a big batch of the filling and make both! But there are also a few variations. This recipe is a guide to one way of making this dish. There are many ways to put this together. Some recipes serve with sour cream. Some do not. When I visited Transylvania a few years ago, fresh dill was put in the pot and it was so good! So, don’t be afraid to try a few variations to figure out your favorite. If you have a family recipe, that’s a great place to start! And, if you have a friend who likes to cook, invite them over and make a double or triple batch! Stuffed cabbage is more fun to make with some helpers!

Stuffed Cabbage – Töltött Káposzta

1 large head of cabbage

¾ lb. ground beef

¾ lb. ground pork

½ c. onion, finely chopped

1 cup raw rice

1 egg

2 T salt

1 teas. black pepper

1 T paprika

20 ounces sauerkraut

2 1/2 cups of water (1/2 cup for the rice)

20 ounce can of tomato juice (or try V8)

1 lb pork neck bones or smoked pork ribs

1 cup sour cream, served on the side

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There are two ways to get your cabbage leaves ready. To blanch or not to blanch, that is the question:

Blanching: Core cabbage and place head down in enough boiling water to cover, turn off heat. When cabbage has wilted, carefully remove from the water, let cool, and peel the leaves off leaving them whole. Trim heavy vein down to make it flat.

Freezing: Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage, rinse, and core the cabbage. Pat dry and place the head in a zip-top plastic bag and freeze. When ready to use, defrost the cabbage and the leaves will peel off easily. Cabbage leaves holds water, so when it is frozen and then thawed, it releases the water to make the leaves wilt.

Place your pork neck bones or smoked pork ribs in a large pot. Add half of the sauerkraut.

Heat up 1 cup of rice with ½ cup of water and let it absorb the water. Let cool. Combine meat, onion, seasonings, and cooled rice, mix well.

In the center of each wilted cabbage lead place 2-3 Tablespoons of meat mixture. Fold in sides of cabbage leaves first and roll up. Add all of this to the pot. Put the rest of the sauerkraut on top. Add tomato juice and water. Bring to a slow boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Serve with sour cream and crusty bread!

All rolled up!

5 People have left comments on this post

» Bash said: { Feb 15, 2021 - 02:02:48 }

What do you do with the sauerkraut? Does that go in the cabbage roll, or in tbe pot?

» Liz said: { Feb 15, 2021 - 03:02:09 }

I layer it in the pot at the bottom and at the top! Thanks for asking! I forgot to add that into the instructions! ~ Liz

» Chistine Meleg said: { Feb 15, 2021 - 06:02:20 }

Thank you for the directions on wilting the cabbage in the freezer I have heard of this but have never read the directions, Using the freezing method is safer than the boiling water method. I have vivid memories of my Mom burning her hands, second degree burns, when she wilted the cabbage using boiling water. She was lucky she didn’t have any scar tissue,. She was in pain for some time. Use the freeing method!

» Cindy Sarvai said: { Feb 15, 2021 - 07:02:38 }

pork neck bones – or smoked pork ribs – where do I get that – or can I used a smoked meat in general?

» Liz said: { Feb 15, 2021 - 08:02:55 }

You don’t have to do either but a smoked meat on a bone would add another level of flavor. ~ Liz