Saturday, May 23, 2015


Stuffed cabbage leaves can be found in Russia, Romania, Ukraine, and other Slavic and Eastern block countries. Every family, every village and every country has their own version.
This recipe is from an Italian-Romanian village in southern Romania.
Prepare ahead of time:
Boil one head of cabbage with 1/2 cup vinegar, a small chunk of horseradish, and 1/4 of an onion until leaves are tender, but not overly soft.
Chop and sauté 3 onions per 2 pounds of ground meat, and add 2 teaspoons paprika. Add salt and pepper to the sautéed onions. Mix with raw ground meat and 1/2 cup raw rice. Add salt, pepper and 6 cloves finely chopped garlic to meat and mix.
Lay cabbage leaf in the palm of your hand. Place a small spoonful of filling in the large part of the leaf toward the bottom. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the filling. Stop and tuck the side in, before rolling to the top. Hold the saramale in your hand, making your fingers cup and meet at the thumb, then tuck the loose part of the top of the leaf inside gently and firmly. A perfect saramale measures 2 1/2 inches in length and does not exceed 1 inch thickness.
Line the bottom of a large kettle with pickled cabbage leaves, and lay several slices of raw bacon and cooked dill weed with 1/4 of the juice on top. Place saramales in a circular pattern in the kettle. After first layer, you may add several more slices of raw bacon and cooked dill weed. Add water to the kettle until just covers the top of the saramales, and add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Simmer until saramales are tender, about three hours. Prepare the evening before, not pouring in the water until the next morning, and let it simmer all morning into early afternoon. By an hour after noon, test the saramales, and serve with French bread (no butter), chicken noodle soup or Ciorba Radauteana, mashed potatoes or mamaliga (see pg   ), and rich chocolate cake with butter frosting for dessert.
Romanian saying about saramales:
A young Romanian woman is not ready
to be married until she can
throw her uncooked saramale in the air
and catch it without it falling apart!

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