Sunday, August 30, 2015

Töltött káposzta - Hungarian cabbage rolls

This is a GEM. IMHO the best Hungarian food after the meat soup.
If you can bare the smell of cooking sour cabbage (cabbage in general) in your house, at the end you'll have a gorgeous meal.

It is the kids' and hubby's favorite, so the quantities below are according to their appetite, if you wanna save some time cut the portions in half.

Ingredients (it yields about 80 pieces)
1 portion of the three Costco organic ground beef, approx. 1.2 pounds, or 50-50 pork-beef
round small grain rice, same amount as the meat, eg. for 1 pound meet 1 pound rice
salt, black pepper
1 large onion (medium US size is enough, large here is about the size of my head :D)
2-3 tbsp oil (if you use only beef, you need a bit more oil because the meat is dry)
2 generous pinch of savory (summer savory) / pound of meat, csomord or borsikafu in Hungarian.
4 branches of dill / pound of meat
powder paprika
1 tbsp minced red pepper
(whole, linked my favorite I found here in North Park Produce)
1 tbsp minced red pepper, store bought or prepare your own. If you use store bought don't forget that it is salted!

1 bottle of sour cabbage leaves / 0.5 pound of meat, so I needed 2 bottles 
You will need a 4-5 quart pot for the HALF portion, for the full portion I'd recommend a 7-8 quart pot.

Optionally you can add smoked and air dried pork ribs at the bottom of the pot.

Here comes the first, not so funny part. Remove all the leaves from the bottles, carefully flatten them out in your palm and remove the thick vein from the middle. Tear the leaves in two or four, depending in their size, by pulling them from the top

Chop the onions in small pieces, saute them in the oil. When light brown remove from the heat, and mix in 1 tsp red paprika powder.
Rinse the rice until the water is clear, drain completely. Add the meat, sauteed onion, salt, black pepper, minced red pepper, sprinkle a small pinch of savory. Mix until the ingredients are homogeneously mixed.
Fill small, about walnut size pieces of filling into each cabbage leave pre-shaped into cone, close the thicker end with the overhanging leave piece.
While filling the leaves, throw the ripped ones to the bottom of the pot, to cover the whole area. Add the smoked ribs for extra flavor and calories :).
Place the cabbage rolls tight in circle in the pot and cover the top with some leftover leaves..
Place the dill branches on top of the rolls. 
Place a smaller lid to keep the cabbages sank all the time under water. That's how I learned from my grandma, and that's how I'll do it for ever :).

Fill with water until the lit is covered with water, throw some extra savory and pinch of salt or any of the spices added to the filling.
Cook at low heat, with the water barely bubbling, for about 2 hours.
Serve with sour cream and fresh bread.. Preferably home made! Yuheee!

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