Hey folks: sorry for the delay. As I’m sure you all know by now, Blogger is having major issues. I was expecting my post from yesterday to reappear and be sent out again today, but a post from a couple weeks ago was sent instead- weird. Sorry about that. Anyways, here’s today’s belated post. If the chestnut cake from yesterday doesn’t automatically come back, I’ll be sure to re-post that one as well. Now back to the food…
I’ll admit that I went into this thinking I wouldn’t like these very much. After all, I felt like my allegiance should be to Polish cabbage rolls, which I’ve eaten since I was a little girl, rather than the Hungarian version. When you start to analyze things, the two seem to have more differences than similarities: the Hungarian version has both pork and veal, very little rice, uses sauerkraut and paprika, and omits tomato sauce.
But then I began to realize how ridiculous that was; it was trying to decide between pepperoni pizza and supreme: why can’t I like both? These are very rich; the filling is very reminiscent of pork hash, a common pupu here in Hawaii. Hearty and filling, the sauerkraut contributes some tang while the paprika adds an unexpected flavor twist.
Hungarian Cabbage Rolls
Yield: 8 servings
* 1 medium head cabbage
* 1 pound ground pork
* 1/2 pound ground veal
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 cup cooked brown rice
* 1 egg
* 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 Tablespoon paprika
* 1/2 cup finely minced salt pork (note: its much easier to cut/mince when partially frozen)
* 1 medium onion
* 1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
* 1/2 cups water
* 2 cans (14 oz.) sauerkraut
* water or stock
* sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse the head of cabbage and remove any damaged or dirty outer leaves. Remove the core and place the cabbage into the boiling water and boil for ten minutes, or until the outer leaves are tender. Drain and let cool slightly. Remove the outer leaves, taking care not to tear them. You should have at least a dozen leaves that are soft and flexible. Finely shred the remaining cabbage and set aside.
Combine the ground pork and veal, salt, minced garlic, chopped onion, rice, egg, black pepper and paprika and mix well.
Place about 1/2 cup of the filling mixture into individual cabbage leaves and roll to secure the filling.
In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, cook the salt pork over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the salt pork is cooked and crispy. Remove the salt pork bits with a slotted spoon and set aside for later. Add the onion to the salt pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the paprika and water and stir well. Add both cans of sauerkraut with their juice and the shredded cabbage. Stir to combine.
Divide the sauerkraut mixture between two baking dishes (I used a 9-inch by 13-inch dish as well as a 9-inch square dish). Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down into the sauerkraut mixture. Add enough water or stock so that the cabbage rolls are just peeking out of the liquid. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are just beginning to brown.
To serve, place a cabbage roll or two on a plate or shallow bowl on a bed of the sauerkraut mixture. Top with sour cream and sprinkle some of the salt pork bits on top.