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Toltott Kaposzta - Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
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Recipe Information
Richly flavored and authentic Hungarian Cabbage Rolls. Using cabbage, sauerkraut and the ages old methods to re-create the comfort food of Hungary.


Serves/Makes:6 or more

  • First Step Ingredients:
  • 2 medium to large heads of green cabbage
  • boiling water
  • Second Step Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 lbs (.7 kg). beef short ribs
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • water to cover
  • Third Step Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) paprika
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 lbs (.7 kg). ground lean pork (like shoulder meat)
  • 1/8 lb (.1 kg). ground smoked pork shoulder butt (ham can be used)
  • 1 small onion, slivered
  • 1-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) uncooked whole grain rice (not minute rice types)
  • Fourth Step Ingredients:
  • 1 large can or bag of sauerkraut, about 3-1/2 cups (825 ml) of firmly packed sauerkraut and its juice
  • 1 cup (225 ml) tomato sauce
  • water (or chicken stock) to cover contents of the cabbage roll kettle.
  • Fifth Step Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (225 ml) cabbage rolls cooking liquid, cooled
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) fat (chicken, duck, bacon, crisco, your choice)
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
  • First Step Directions:
  • In a large 10 quarts (9450 ml) pot place cabbage heads in enough warm water to cover them.
  • Remove the cabbage and set aside.
  • Bring the water to a rapid boil and turn the heat off, add the cabbage heads and cover the pot and let the cabbages sit for 15 minutes.
  • Remove cabbage and set aside the wilted leaves.
  • Repeat until all the leaves are removed.
  • You will need at least 18 to 20 nice sized leaves for the rolls.
  • Carefully carve down the thick vein on the cabbage leaves and be careful not to tear them, then set them aside (put unused cabbage leaves in the refrigerator for another recipe or use).
  • Second Step Directions:
  • Place short ribs into a large 8 quarts (7575 ml) pot with water to cover.
  • Bring water quickly to boiling; skim foam from liquid and discard.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Skim as necessary.
  • Third Step Directions:
  • Blend together the eggs, salt, paprika and ground black pepper.
  • Mix the egg mixture lightly and thoroughly with the ground pork, ground smoked pork (or ham), onion, garlic, and uncooked rice.
  • To stuff the cabbage leaves, place on the center of each leaf about 1/8 cup (30 ml) to 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the meat mixture.
  • Roll each leaf tucking the ends in toward the center.
  • If desired, use wooden toothpicks to fasten the leaves securely and set the rolls aside.
  • Fourth Step Directions:
  • Take the 8 quarts (7575 ml) pot with the cooked short ribs in it and layer them with one-half of the contents of the sauerkraut.
  • Then, lay the cabbage rolls on top of that sauerkraut and after putting in all the cabbage rolls, lay the remaining sauerkraut on top of them.
  • Pour over the final layer of sauerkraut the tomato sauce and add enough water (or chicken stock) to cover the contents in the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Remove the stuffed cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, and the ribs with slotted spoon to a large serving bowl.
  • Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  • Reserve the cooking liquid in the pot and set aside, but remove 1 cup (225 ml) of cooking liquid from the kettle and set aside for cooling to lukewarm to use in the fifth step to make the sauce.
  • Fifth Step Directions:
  • Melt the fat in a medium skillet and add the onions and stir them until they are transparent.
  • Throrougly blend the flour and paprika together and add to the onions and fat until it bubbles and then remove it from the heat.
  • Gradually stir the 1 cup (225 ml) of reserved cabbage roll liquid, stirring constantly until well blended and smooth.
  • Blend this mixture back into the pot of cabbage roll cooking liquid and bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  • Pour this sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  • Serve with the sauerkraut and ribs.
This is really good with a chunky applesauce and boiled potatoes.

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