Made This Recipe? Add Your Photo
Cook2 hrs 30 mins
In the Slavic former provinces of the Ottoman Empire (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia and Romania), sarmale is a traditional meal for Christmas and other religious holidays. Traditionally, a pot filled with sarmale is usually prepared for an entire family. This also occurs in Armenia, as well.
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 large head green cabbage, cored
- 1⁄2 cup long-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 white onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
- 1⁄2 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
- 12 ounces ground beef
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 slices bacon (optional)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 (28 ounce) canned whole tomatoes, undrained and crushed
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cabbage and cook, pulling off each outer leaf with tongs as it becomes tender, about 2 minutes per leaf.
- Transfer cabbage leaves to a baking sheet; set aside and continue boiling cabbage until you have 20 leaves.
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt saucepan. Add rice and boil for 10 minutes. Drain rice; set aside.
- Heat oil in a 10" skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a bowl along with the rice and let cool slightly.
- Add 1 tbsp dill, bread crumbs, paprika, and chile flakes. Stir to combine. Using your hands, fold in beef and season with salt and pepper; set filling aside.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F
- Set aside 4 whole cabbage leaves. Working with remaining cabbage leaves one at a time, stem each leaf and cut leaf into 4" square pieces. Repeat to make twenty-eight 4" square pieces.
- Spoon 1 tablespoons of reserved filling onto center of a square. Bring up 1 edge of square and roll into a cylinder, tucking in sides. Transfer stuffed cabbage to a 6-qt Dutch oven.
- Repeat with remaining leaves and filling, arranging stuffed cabbage in a circular pattern in pot as you go. Finely chop any remaining cabbage; set aside.
- Top stuffed cabbage with remaining dill, along with sauerkraut, thyme, bacon, and bay leaves. Top with minced cabbage leaves and tomatoes and pour in stock and 1/2 cup water.
- Cover with the reserved whole cabbage leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cover, transfer to oven, and bake until stuffed cabbage is tender and flavors meld, about 2 hours. Let cool slightly before serving.