Make Ahead

Sarma (Cabbage rolls)

December 28, 2015
0 Ratings
Photo by anka
  • Makes 12 cabbage rolls
Author Notes

Growing up we used a lot of sauerkraut, my mom made a 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.

What You'll Need
  • 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 colour, add onion and sauté until onion gets soft.
  2. In a large bowl combine ground meat, rice, eggs, saute onion and bacon, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Peel 10-12 leaves of the pickled cabbage and rest of cabbage cut into fours and sliced across.
  4. Put 3/4 cup 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 the 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 roll to tide because rice needs some space to expand. (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 a roux when reaches light brown colour 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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

2 Reviews

steph September 3, 2019
This looks wonderful! Luckily, I can buy whole pickled cabbages locally. I had something like this once in Hungary, complete with pickled cabbage, and it remains one of my favourite food memories from that trip.
anka September 3, 2019
Thank you. Hope you will make and enjoy; let me know how it turns out.