Oven-Baked Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sour Cabbage
Oven-Baked Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, known as "Töltött Káposzta," represent the heart and soul of Hungarian cuisine—a culinary tradition steeped in history and flavor. This beloved dish is a masterpiece that brings together tender cabbage leaves, a savory filling of ground meat and rice, and a medley of aromatic spices, all baked to perfection.At its core, Oven-Baked Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls encapsulate the essence of comfort food, delivering a symphony of textures and tastes that dance on the palate. Each roll is a harmonious blend of sweet and savory, soft and crunchy, making every bite a journey through the heartland of Eastern Europe.Prepare to immerse yourself in a world of flavors and traditions that celebrate Hungary's rich culinary heritage. Whether you're a seasoned chef or an enthusiastic home cook, there's a wealth of culinary magic awaiting you in each mouthwatering serving of Oven-Baked Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Join us on this culinary journey and savor the tradition that has captured hearts and palates for generations.
- 70/2 (oz/kg) whole sour cabbage heads (sauerkraut)
- 35/1 (oz/kg) ground pork or pork-beef mixture
- 5/150 (oz/g) smoked pork sausages (you can also use smoked bacon or smoked pork knuckle)
- 5/150 (oz/g) onions
- 9/250 (oz/g) white rice
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp paprika, sweet or spicy
- 1 tbsp dried thyme or dried dill
- ½ tbsp peppercorn or to taste
peel the onions and finely chop them.
fry the onions with a little oil until glassy.
cut the sausages into thick slices.
remove the stub from sour cabbage heads.
unwrap the leaves on the cabbage heads.
cut the leaves into 2-3 suitable pieces if necessary.
put the meat in a bowl and add the fried onions.
add the rice to the bowl.
add the cumin and ground pepper, then add the paprika.
mix the ingredients thoroughly.
chop the remaining sour cabbage (sauerkraut.)
put half of the chopped sour cabbage on the deeper tray or casserole.
sprinkle some dry thyme/dill and peppercorns.
put half of the sausages over the cabbage.
pour a little water into the tray/casserole.
fill the cabbage leaves with meat and rice mixture.
put the stuffed cabbage rolls on the tray.
put the rest of the sausages between the stuffed cabbage rolls.
pour lukewarm water into the tray.
put the rest of the chopped cabbage over the stuffed cabbage rolls.
cover the tray with foil and place it in the oven at 150C/300F for about 1 hour.
remove the foil from the tray.
add more water as needed and put the tray in the oven at 170C/340F until the baked stuffed cabbage rolls are tender (30-60 minutes.)
Cooking Tips for the Best Results:
Choose High-Quality Sour Cabbage: Start with premium store-bought sour cabbage. Look for a product that’s been properly fermented, offering the distinctive tangy flavor characteristic of this dish. Ensure there are no additional flavors or preservatives that might detract from the natural sourness of the cabbage.
Careful Leaf Separation: Since we don’t need to parboil the leaves, gently separate the sour cabbage leaves with care. Ensure they are pliable and free from any excessive saltiness. Rinse the leaves thoroughly under cold running water to remove excess salt, preparing them for use in your rolls.
Thoughtful Filling Seasoning: The filling is the heart of your stuffed cabbage rolls. Use a blend of ground pork and beef for depth of flavor, and season it with traditional Hungarian spices such as paprika, caraway, salt, and pepper. Incorporate more fried onions to enhance the taste. Taste the filling mixture to ensure it’s well-seasoned to your liking.
Roll Tightly and Securely: When assembling the rolls, place a spoonful of the filling at the base of each sour cabbage leaf and roll it up tightly, folding in the sides as you go. Ensure that the rolls are secure, as this will prevent them from unraveling during baking. Place them seam-side down in the baking dish to keep them intact.
Slow and Covered Baking: To achieve tender and flavorful rolls, bake them slowly in the oven, and consider covering them with a lid or foil. This helps retain moisture and prevents the rolls from drying out during the cooking process. A slow bake allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a delicious and satisfying dish.
Can I use regular cabbage instead of sour cabbage for this dish?
While sour cabbage is traditional for this dish and imparts a unique tangy flavor, you can use regular green or Savoy cabbage if you prefer. However, keep in mind that the sourness of the cabbage is a distinctive feature of the dish, so the flavor profile will differ.
How can I prevent the cabbage rolls from falling apart during baking?
To prevent the rolls from unraveling, ensure that you roll them tightly and securely, folding in the sides as you go. Placing them seam-side down in the baking dish helps keep them closed during baking. Baking them covered also helps retain their shape and moisture.
Can I make these baked stuffed cabbage rolls in advance?
Yes, baked stuffed cabbage rolls can be made in advance. In fact, they often taste even better the next day as the flavors meld together. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and gently reheat them on the stovetop or in the oven when you’re ready to enjoy them.
What side dishes pair well with these baked stuffed cabbage rolls?
These baked stuffed cabbage rolls can be a complete meal on their own, but you can pair them with sour cream for added richness. Serve them with a side of mashed potatoes or crusty bread to complement the flavors. A simple cucumber salad or pickles can also make excellent accompaniments.
Can I freeze leftover baked stuffed cabbage rolls for later?
Yes, you can freeze baked stuffed cabbage rolls for future consumption. After baking and cooling them, arrange the rolls in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw them in the refrigerator and warm them gently on the stovetop or in the oven. While freezing may slightly alter the texture, the flavor remains delicious.
➡️ Enjoy cooking baked stuffed cabbage rolls in the oven from scratch. For additional info, read more here. I also recommend other tasty stuffed cabbage rolls recipes published on this website (see below.)
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