Monday, December 16, 2013

Sarma - Stuffed Cabbage Roll

Celebrating Recipe #100!!! 
Printable Recipe
Filling & Cabbage 
  • 1 1/2 onions, diced
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 heads of cabbage
  • 1 jar sauerkraut
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
 Tomato Sauce 
  • 3 cans tomatoes sauce 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta 
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups water, use sauce cans  
Make Meat Filling 
1. Sauté 1 1/2 onion & 7 garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes. 
Add ground pork & ground beef. Mix while browning for 7-10 minutes. Then add paprika, 
seasoning salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, & Vegeta (or salt) & combine with meat.  

2. In a small pot, partially cook rice with 1 cup water until it comes to a full boil. Add rice, with water to the meat mixture. Stir all ingredients & make sure meat is broken down into small pieces. You can used a masher or fork for this process. Add parsley & mix. Taste for seasoning, add more salt or pepper if needed.

Prep Cabbage
1. Cut the core out of the whole cabbage.
Place in a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Once it come to a boil turn to make sure all sides are slightly cooked.
Peel off one piece at a time & let sit in the boiling water for a minute. 
Then lay flat on a plate to cool.

3. Make sure to gently trim the rib of the cooked cabbage before rolling.

Make Cabbage Rolls
1. Lay open one cabbage at a time. Add one scoop of filling to the stem end of the cabbage. Fold over the back side, fold in the sides, & roll. Place each piece side by side, tightly packed in a deep baking pan or ceramic dish.

2. Once you complete a layer, add a thin layer of sauerkraut. When finished rolling all the Sarma, top the final layer with sauerkraut & use the small pieces of cabbage to lay over the top so Sarma doesn't burn. 

3. Cover with foil & Bake at 375 for 1 hour minutes. 
Depending upon the size of your pan, for larger batch add 30 minutes.

Making Tomato Sauce
1. Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until lightly brown. 
Add garlic & sauté for a minute.

2. Add 1/4 cup flour & mix well, if too dry add a bit more oil, 
1 tablespoon at a time, until consistency is easy to stir, see picture.

3. Stir in paprika. Then add 3 cans tomatoes sauce. Fill each can with water & add 3 cans water to thin out the sauce. It should be a bit thinner than a marinara sauce consistency. Stir well & make sure to use a flat edge spoon to scrape off all bits at the bottom. 

4. Add Vegeta, pepper, chopped fresh parsley, & bay leaves. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer on low uncovered, for 15 minutes. Keep warm until Sarma is ready.

Final Process
1. When Sarma is ready, take the pan out of the oven.  Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the top of the Sarma. Put back into the oven & broil on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven.

2. Take the loose pieces of cabbage off the top. 
You can throw out the loose cabbage pieces.

 3. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the top of the Sarma. Put back into the oven
& broil on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven.

Plate Finished Product


It only took me over 20 years but I finally did it, not only did I actually make Sarma with my parents from start to finish, I actually got them to let me write down a recipe on paper! This traditional Slavic Sarma recipe my parents have been making since before I can remember is probably the most special recipe I have ever made. When my parents moved from former Yugoslavia to the US in their early 20s, they came with nothing but a suitcase in hand. Although they didn't bring much, they brought the most important thing of all, love for their culture & kept these traditions in our family for many years. Being youngest of six kids explains why it's such a large recipe, but it's also because the amount of time it takes to make this dish you want to make as much as possible! If you want to make a smaller batch I suggest you half the recipe of just freeze the leftovers & reheat as needed. 


For Whole30 or Paleo replace use olive oil, for seasoning salt use smoked or garlic infused salt & remove Vegeta, replace rice with cauliflower rice, read tomato sauce can to make sure all ingredients are compliant, remove flour. You can replace pork or both meats with ground turkey. We also use the same meat & rice filling for our stuffed bell peppers or  Punjena Paprika, which is also a wonderful dish. I prefer the red peppers, but my brother likes the green either way it's delicious!