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CyberCom™ :: Recipes :: Traditional Romanian Cabbage Rolls (Sarmale)

A traditional Romanian for the Holidays and for all occasions!

Traditional Romanian Cabbage Rolls (Sarmale)

Traditional Romanian Cabbage Rolls (Sarmale)

COOKING: 3 hours 5 minutes
TOTAL: 4 hours 5 minutes
PORTION(S): about 40 medium rolls


PREPARATION (Roll mouse over icons below to see enlarged images)

  1. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Gently peel the leaves from the pickled cabbage one at a time, being careful not to tear them. Rinse each leaf with cold water to desalt it. Cut each leaf in half and cut the large center veins and lay them out on a large plate, one on top of the other. Set aside..
  2. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) In a bowl, combine the two ground meats and spices, until blended. Set aside.
  3. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Cut the smoked bacon into fairly thin slices, then into very small cubes. Set aside.
  4. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Preheat a little oil and blanch the onions. Do not brown them. Then, over medium heat, add the rice and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, mixing evenly. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Add the rice and onion mixture to the meat and mix by hand until well blended.
  6. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Gradually add half the tomato juice, while mixing until well blended.
  7. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Spread each half-leaf of cabbage and place the equivalent of a tsp on one of the wide ends. heaping tablespoon of well-rolled meat mixture in the shape of a sausage. Start rolling the half-leaf lengthwise, while bringing the sides inward, to close the leaf into a cigar (see image). Gently place the finished cigar on a plate.
  8. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) Repeat the last step until you have completed the meat composition.
  9. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) In a very large pot, place a little tomato juice, then cover the bottom with a few pieces of cabbage and pieces of bacon. Cover with a layer of cabbage cigars. Repeat this entire step until all the ingredients are layered. At the end, add the rest of the tomato juice and the 1/2 cup of oil, then add cold water until it is covered with two fingers. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours. DO NOT MIX to avoid breaking the cigars. From time to time, rather turn the cauldron very quickly from left to right to prevent the composition from stirring.
  10. Sarmale (cabbage rolls)Sarmale (cabbage rolls) At the end of cooking, gently remove the cabbage cigars and place them in serving plates, then add the mixture of cabbage pieces and bacon.
Traditional Romanian cabbage rolls are best served with hot Romanian Traditional Cornbread (Mămăligă) and optionally with sour cream.

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