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Hungarian cabbage rolls

Stuffed cabbage, cabbage rolls

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 8 servings


For the filling

  • 1 pound (0.5 kg) minced pork
  • 5/8 cup (125 g) rice
  • 2 tablespoons of duck/goose/pork fat or vegetable oil
  • Half an onion
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  • 1 cabbage, pickled or fresh (see recipe)
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) sauerkraut

Into the pot goes

  • 1/2 pound (250 g) 25 good-quality smoked meat, e.g. bacon, spare ribs
  • 1/3 pound (150 g) Hungarian smoked paprika sausage (lángolt kolbálsz, if you can find it)
  • 2 tablespoons of duck/goose/pork fat or vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 oz. (200 ml) sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. flour


  • Steam the rice halfway. Put 5/8 cup of rice (approx 125 grams) in a pot with 1 cup of water to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes covered, until all water has been absorbed.
  • Finely chop half an onion. Simmer the onions on 2 tablespoons of fat (or oil) until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the cabbage leaves. If you are using pickled cabbage leaves, you may want to rinse them under water to have a less stronger flavor. If you are using fresh cabbage, blanch them to make them easier to handle.
  • Cut out the thick part of the cabbage leaves, making them easy to roll up later with the filling.
  • Cut up the smoked meat and sausage in 2-3 portions.
  • Prepare the stuffing. Mix together minced meat, rice, stewed onions, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Make sure you season according to your taste. Some people like to add a little red pepper to give it some color. Add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon if you like.
  • To fill (or stuff) the cabbage leaves, take one leaf in your hand so that the inside is facing you.
  • Depending on the size of the cabbage leaf, place 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of the meat filling into the center of the leaf.
  • Fold one side of the leaf over the meat and itself.
  • Roll up the cabbage around the stuffing as tight as possible.
  • Taking the roll in your hand, stuff the loose end with your other forefinger.
  • Place your cabbage rolls on a plate.
  • When you are ready, slice up the leaves that you haven't used and add them later to the stuffed cabbage pot.
  • Once you are ready with all the rolls, it's time to compile the pot so that the stuffed cabbages can be cooked. For this, use a large enough pot.
  • Finely chop 1 onion.
  • Melt 2 tbsp. of good quality lard or vegetable oil, and steam the chopped onions for about 3-4 minutes. They should be just translucent, not golden.
  • Take off the heat, add 2 teaspoons of paprika, stir.
  • Spread half of the sauerkraut over the onion.
  • Add 8-10 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and 3 allspice. Of course you can use more if you like stronger flavors.
  • Place the cabbage rolls over the sauerkraut.
  • Stack the smoked meat and sausage on top of the rolls. There is never to much of smoked meat, so if you like it you can double the amount given in this recipe as well.
  • Finally, spread the remaining half of sauerkraut on top.
  • Fill up with enough water to just cover it and put it to cook cover, over medium heat.
  • Once it comes to a boil, lover the the heat and cook the stuffed cabbage for 2 hours.
  • When your cabbage rolls are cooked thru, it's time to make the final touch.
  • Take out the rolls and smoked meats and place them on a plate.
  • In a bowl, mix 7 oz. (200 ml) of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of flour.
  • Add a few tablespoons of the cabbage water. Stir, thus avoiding it to be lumpy.
  • Pour sour cream mixture in the pot over the sauerkraut, stir. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • To serve stuffed cabbage, start with some sauerkraut, then 1 or 2 rolls per person. Add some meat or sausage, fresh bread and extra sour cream.