Friday, November 7, 2008

Stuffed Cabbages, or Töltött káposzta (don't ask me to pronounce it)

Liz over at The Good Eatah posted about stuffed cabbage the other day. I don't know if you know (or remember), but Alex is Hungarian. When we went home to visit his family last summer, we had stuffed cabbage twice. It's a very special dish to him. One woman who made stuffed cabbage made it the way Liz did, in a tomato sauce, while another woman made it with soured cabbage (think sauerkraut). Both ways were served with sour cream. Both were delicious, but as someone who doesn't love soured things too much, the tomato sauce ones were my favorite. Alex was thrilled when he came home and saw me rolling the cabbage, then really weirded out because I put the pot in the oven instead of simmering it on the stove for hours and hours. How was I supposed to know? Either way you cook it, stuffed cabbage is delicious. Even if you don't like cabbage, like me. We stuffed ourselves on them. Thanks Liz for the inspiration!

Stuffed Cabbages, the red way.
In Hungarian, these are calleTöltött káposzta.  
This is a great dish to make/eat when it's crappy outside, like it has been here lately.

1 head of cabbage
1 1/2 lb ground meat (I would love to make them next time with some sausage in the mix)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 - 1 onion, diced
5+ cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1-2 t paprika
1 1/2 c cooked rice (I bet they would be delicious made with quinoa)
4 c tomato sauce (I used homemade, see below)
2 c chicken broth

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil. Cut the core out of your head of cabbage using a paring knife, then carefully slide into the boiling water and let cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from boiling water, and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Mix ground meat, zucchini, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and rice in a large bowl, using your hands. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread a bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of your dish you are going to cook the cabbages in. Peel a few leaves off your head of cabbage, and place a hunk of meat-veggie mixture in the middle. Fold over the sides, and roll over away from you. Place seam side down in the dish, and repeat with remaining leaves until you have no more meat mixture left, pouring tomato sauce and chicken broth over each layer before starting a new one. Pour sauce and broth over the top, cover, and bake for about 2 hours. I baked mine for 3 but they were done before then. Serve with sour cream. 

Tomato sauce
2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 t pepper flakes
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar
1 t oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 c broth

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion with pepper flakes until onion is softened. Add salt and pepper, sugar, oregano, and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth. Taste for salt and pepper, add some more. Cook 15-20 minutes covered, then let cool slightly. Puree in a blender or food processor. 


  1. I love cabbage rolls and can eat mass quantities of the stuff. I like the addition of zucchini in your recipe.

  2. Anonymous11:10 PM

    We made this for supper tonight using lamb and Basmati rice. It was lovely. Thank you.

  3. Interesting -
    My grandmother's Moroccan and makes these all the time. Not many things remind me of home as much as this dish.
    No zucchini in her stuffed cabbage though, and it sounds good.

  4. Thanks guys! I know zucchini isn't traditional, but I wanted to add some more veggies (and would have if I had had more) so I would only have to make one thing for dinner. I'm finishing the leftovers today, Yum.

  5. Thank you so much for your recipe! I made this last night for dinner and it was to die for! Absolutely delicious!

  6. Anonymous10:25 AM

    J - you'd never know this unless someone told you, but your grandmother (my mom) used to make stuffed cabbage all the time. Stuffed peppers, too.