Saturday, October 04, 2014

Stuffed Cabbage - Best Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Ever

Ah, Stuffed Cabbage! Sharing the Best Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Ever thanks to my grandma! One of my fondest food memories growing up is watching my grandmother make her Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. The second memory is enjoying the delicious taste! My grandma Julia Nagy had a "secret ingredient" that made her authentic, traditional stuffed cabbage rolls the best I have ever had to this very day.

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Roll on pretty plate
I will let you know what her special ingredient is a little later. And, I will share grandma's recipe. We are thankful for our grandmothers who have passed down their family recipes. I think it is important that we celebrate our grandmothers and celebrate our family traditions.

What is stuffed cabbage? It's cabbage leaves stuffed with meat ** beef, lamb or pork ** along with spices and rice. It is an ethnic comfort food that is always better the next day, or the day after that. Do you know that they have become a worldwide phenomenon ... everyone in the world is talking about it these days! Find out why ... here.

Be sure to take part in the debates over which authentic stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is better -- Hungarian or Polish -- and whether it is a seasonal comfort food. I personally think they are great any time of the year, not just for the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas and St. Patrick's Day! What do you think? Do you love it as much as I do?

I hope you enjoy this page and that you make it a point to either make them yourself or find a restaurant where you can have some! These rolls are great with homemade mashed potatoes and the juice from the pot.

Photo Credit: The actual delicious dish, Hungarian style, by JaguarJulie.

Are you a Fan of This Ethnic Comfort Food?
Do you love it or not? Do you love the taste?

stuffed cabbage love poll results
  1. Yumm, Yumm, Yumm! Love love love it!
  2. Haven't tried it yet.
  3. Naw, don't like it.
Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls on a plate

My Confession : I Personally Love Stuffed Cabbage!!
To me, grandma's recipe is the best-ever! "It's my favorite comfort food! My grandma really knew how to make it!"

jaguarjulie glamour shot in red dress
You know, I've been talking about my grandma Julia Nagy's authentic and traditional Hungarian comfort food recipes for a number of years online. In my opinion, she made anything : the best ever. She always seemed to have that special "secret" ingredient! Perhaps it was grandma's love?

It is incredible just how popular this ethnic comfort food has become. It is a healthy food too. Everybody is talking about it! How about you? Are you talking about your grandma's authentic recipes? Are you loving them? Have you got a best-ever, authentic and traditional recipe to share?

Do you prefer Hungarian or perhaps Polish like Martha Stewart might make? I've tried a lot of different recipes - homemade and store bought - but I keep going back to the original. I like mine with a blend of meats as that is a mainstay of the original recipe.

Dear readers, I want to thank you for taking time to check out my page on stuffed cabbage. Oh my to think that we food enthusiasts could have such a platform as the internet to write about our favorite foods and then touch so many worldwide.

I can't tell you what it all has meant to me to connect with everybody. I am so thankful to have had such great food memories from my youth. I am so thankful to have had a grandmother like Julia Nagy. And, I sincerely hope one day to be cooking with her again. --The Brand Ambassador, JaguarJulie!

P.S. I was the Official Squidoo Comfort Foods Contributor! Did you know that? Well, you probably guessed it.

Doesn't this look delicious?
Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Roll served with tomato sauce and sauerkraut and a peppercorn!

hungarian stuffed cabbage roll by jaguarjulie
Hungarian stuffed cabbage roll by JaguarJulie

When do you eat them?
Is Stuffed Cabbage a seasonal recipe or a recipe for all four seasons?

stuffed cabbage google trends analysis
stuffed cabbage google trends analysis

Which season is right for this delicious comfort food? I am a huge fan of Google Trends and love to research different topics there!

An incredible amount of researchers are conducting Google searches for the best stuffed cabbage recipes in the world. It surely seems that authentic Hungarian and Polish recipes are ranking at the top. Everybody wants traditional recipes that are considered the best-ever. And, most times, those are our grandmother's heirloom recipes.

Yep, Google is trending this favorite food. What I think is quite captivating information from this chart is that this comfort food is a consistent type of trend throughout the years. Take a look at the dips and peaks of the chart -- it seems to indicate that this is a popular food during different seasons. So, please take part in this somewhat scientific poll! Thank you.

The Poll : When do you eat them?
Which season is right? When during the year do you eat Stuffed Cabbage Rolls?

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls when do you eat poll results
  1. I eat them in the winter months.
  2. You can find me eating them more in the fall. 
  3. I like stuffed cabbage rolls during the spring months.
  4. Surprisingly, I love eating during the summer!
  5. Seasonal - for all four seasons -- naw, I eat them all year around.
  6. OK -- I'm just thinking about eating some.

Ingredients for Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Look closely to learn some of MY secret ingredients.

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Ingredients

Grandma's Recipe Made for the Holidays!
Preparation time: 3 hours. Serves 8.

Grandma's Ingredients:
1 large cabbage
2 jars of sauerkraut
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground pork
1/2 cup cooked long grain rice
1 raw egg
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 cups of water
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. Hungarian paprika
salt and black pepper

4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour

Grandma's Secret Ingredient
We are revealing it right here!

jaguarjulie and grandma julia nagy
OK, now for what my grandmother Julia Nagy called her "secret ingredient." It's Zaprashka, a sauce or gravy that is a thickening.

How to make the Zaprashka: Blend 4 Tbsp. butter* [or oil] and 4 Tbsp. flour together in a frying pan. Keep on medium heat and keep stirring until lightly browned and the lumps have dissolved. Slowly add the liquid mixture directly from the cooking pot to the Zaprashka and blend until smooth. Then, add this mixture back to the cooking stuffed cabbage!

*My grandmother brought home the very best butter from the West Side Market in Cleveland. --JaguarJulie

Instructions for Making Grandma's Recipe!
Follow these step-by-step instructions for Grandma's delicious recipe.
  1. Remove core from the cabbage, place in a large saucepan, cover with water, then bring to the boil and cook until the outer leaves begin to loosen.
  2. Lift out the cabbage, remove the softened leaves and return the head to the pan of boiling water to soften more leaves. Repeat until all leaves are removed.
  3. Once all the leaves have been softened, remove the center stalks from each leaf and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, place the beef, pork, rice, bread crumbs, salt, paprika, pepper and egg in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Grandma liked extra black pepper! Set aside.
  5. Place the onion and garlic in a saucepan and saute until the onion is soft.
  6. Add the onion mixture to the beef mixture and mix well.
  7. Spoon half the sauerkraut into the bottom of a large cast iron pot and set aside.
  8.  Using the largest leaves, place about a handful of the meat and rice mixture on each leaf and roll up, tucking in sides. Lightly press the mixture into the leaves. Place the cabbage rolls with the seam side down on top of the sauerkraut in the cast iron pot. Sprinkle the peppercorns and add the bay leaves on top.
  9. Add the unused leaves, chopped, on top in the cooking pot.
  10. Mix the tomatoes, water and remaining sauerkraut together and add on top.
  11. Cook on medium until mixture begins to bubble, turn down heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 hours. I like to let it simmer on the stove a little longer.
  12. Near serving time, prepare the zapraska in a skillet, pouring liquid from the pot into the zapraska and then add back to the pot. The stuffed cabbage rolls should simmer for another 15 minutes with the added zapraska.
  13. Grandma always served hers with homemade mashed potatoes, adding the liquid from the pot to the potatoes! YUMM!
hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls cooking in cast iron pot

Tips :: How to Work With a Cabbage Head
To easily get the best cabbage leaves!

Tips How to Work With a Cabbage Head
Tips :: How to Work With a Cabbage Head
Carefully cut out the core of the cabbage head using a paring knife. Put the head into a large pot of boiling water that is big enough to fully cover it. Boil for a couple of minutes; less than 5 usually. You can tell the outer leaves are ready to remove as they will be a brighter green color and tender to a fork.

Remove the cooking head and carefully peal off the outer leaves and set aside. Place the head back into the boiling water and repeat the process.

TIP: Carefully trim the center stem on the softened leaves so that they will be easier to roll.

P.S. Some chefs like to first put their cabbage heads in the freezer; however, my Hungarian grandma Julia Nagy never put hers in the freezer -- so I don't either. You are welcome to try it if you like.

I have added a downloadable version of the tips as gray box jpg above. Just right click and save image to your computer so that you can print it out!

Thanks for visiting!
Do you love this food like I do? Got a great recipe? You know, I've tried a lot of different recipes over the years, but I honestly have not had any other stuffed cabbage rolls that can compete with grandma's. Taking time to create each delicious roll is well worth the end result. Psst, try it, you'll love it! Please share comments, raves, remarks and recipes!

The Perfect Food!!
You know, the more I think about it, now that I've gotten to be the age of my grandma, STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS are a perfect food. They are so comforting; ah, comfort food. Grandma surely knew best.

History: Stuffed Cabbage : The Best Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Ever was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on December 21, 2007. In December 2008, it was voted the 'Best Cooking Lens' in the 2008 Giant Squid Awards Competition for Food and Cooking. On April 16, 2009 this lens earned the Purple Star Award for quality content. This lens made it to the #1 spot overall on Squidoo on April 19, 2009. Then, nearly 5 years later in 2014: January 3 and 30, February 1 and 3, March 28, and April 5. Thank YOU readers!


poppy said...

Looking good Julie!

Julie Ann Brady said...

Thanks Poppy - appreciate you dropping by. This is part I of a five-part series published today with my repurposed original content from my top Squidoo lens on Stuffed Cabbage!

Pam said...

I'm not a big fan of cabbage, but I would give cabbage rolls a try. Recipes that have been passed down are the best. Great post Julie!

Julie Ann Brady said...

Pam, how sweet of you to drop by. Yeah, sometimes the cabbage cooking can be quite 'intoxicating' if you know what I mean. So good to see you! Here's to stuffed cabbage rolls - the best ever!!!

Joanne said...

I love cabbage rolls! This is making me hungry.

Julie Ann Brady said...

Thanks Joanne - me too! You know, I wished I had a personal chef who could prepare this for me weekly! Such a delicious comfort food.

Unknown said...

Julie, thank you so much for posting this recipe. My Hungarian mom (Julie Ann) always raved about her Grandma Julia’s stuffed cabbage. I searched and searched for a recipe and knew yours would be a hit after reading it through. My mom also grew up going to the Westside market in Cleveland and spending time with her grandma in the kitchen.
Anyway, I made your version first in 2014 and have been making it ever since ( I have a pot simmering on the stove now)! It makes my mom incredibly happy when I make the cabbage and it tastes so dang good!! Thank you ❤️

Julie Ann Brady said...

Abigail, so good to hear from you! Wow, your Hungarian mom had a Grandma Julia too and was a Julie Ann! Yes, that Westside Market was THE place for good Eastern European foods. My grandma was always bringing home such tasty goodies from there. Glad the recipe helped -- grandma always was telling us over and over how not everyone made it with the thickening sauce. Bay leaves and pepper corns were a must with the sauerkraut too. And, I loved her homemade mashed potatoes to go along with it.

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