Sarma (Cabbage rolls)

By • December 28, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Growing up we used lot of sauerkraut, my mom made big wooden barrel full of whole heads and shredded cabbage, (just cabbage, coarse sea salt and water). After pickling process (it takes about 2 months) you can eat raw like salad, sate with bacon and onion, with beans and smoked meat, and of course sarma. Some people wash sauerkraut before they used I like when is very sour.
In our house traditionally is served with mash potatoes or just boiled potatoes. But it can be served with polenta or just nice crusty bread.


Makes 12 cabbage rolls

  • 5 pounds pickled cabbage, whole
  • 1 small smoked ham hock or some smoked meat and sausage
  • 2.5 pounds mix ground meat (pork, veal and beef)
  • 3-4 slices bacon, small diced
  • 1 large or two small onions diced and sauté
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (pickled cabbage is salty)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups water plus whatever amount to covet cabbage rolls (for me was 6 cups)
  1. Dice bacon and put in frying pan with 1/3 cup of water, cook for 5-6 minutes making sure water evaporate and bacon get some color, add onion and sauté until onion get soft.
  2. In a large bowl combine ground meat, rice, eggs, sate onion and bacon, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Peel 10-12 leafs of the pickled cabbage and rest of cabbage cut into fours and sliced across.
  4. Put 3/4 cut pickled cabbage on the bottom of the dish that you are using, rest keep on the side you will need for the top.
  5. With paring knife trim cabbage ribs at the base of leaf.
  6. Now you can start assembling cabbage rolls.
  7. Put about 1/3 cup meat mixture in the cabbage leaf, roll up life and tuck in the side(like you will do spring roll). Do not r to tide because rice need some space to expend. (You can put more meat if you are planning to serve one cabbage roll per person, I prefer 2 smaller).
  8. Line them in the dish with sliced cabbage. Place some smoked meat between cabbage rolls (smoked ribs, smokes ham hock or sausage). Cover with rest of sliced cabbage.
  9. In a frying pan heat 1/3 cup of oil, add 6 tbs flour and make roux, when reaches light brown color add 1 tsp paprika, cook 10 seconds and add 2 cups cold water and pour over cabbage rolls. Add more water to cover cabbage rolls.
  10. Cover with parchment paper and aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for 2 hours.
  11. Let them sit cover for 1 hour before serving; they taste even better next day.

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Vegetables|Pork|Beef & Veal|Cabbage