Irena Lacatusu
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Sarmale

Romanian Cabbage Rolls

My grandmother used to make these when I was little, and they’re the best comfort food. This recipe is super easy to prepare. The hardest part is getting through rolling all of that filling, but I promise it’s worth it. Make a day of it and invite some friends and family to help!

<span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Vegetable oil (You can use any type of oil that you have handy.)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Onion (I used a large onion because this recipe makes a lot of cabbage rolls.)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Long-grain rice (Basmati rice is best. I wouldn’t use brown rice; it takes a lot longer to cook than white rice and you may end up with crunchy bits in your rolls.)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Ground pork (I love to use pork because it has a higher fat content and makes for some nice juicy rolls. You can use any type of ground meat you like, but keep in mind that leaner meats like chicken or turkey will come out drier.)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Salt and pepper (Season the mixture to your own discretion.)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Fresh parsley and dill (Using fresh herbs makes such a big difference in how the flavor develops in your rolls!)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Sour cabbage leaves (This is what really sets the Romanian version apart from the rest. The little hit of vinegar is to die for!)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Bacon (Find yourself a nice thick-cut smoky style of bacon.)</span-value> <span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Tomato juice (This is what our rolls are going to sit and cook in.)</span-value>

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Ingredients
Directions

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<h4-tag>Prepare the filling</h4-tag><span-p>
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onion until translucent, then add the rice and toast for 1 minute.
Add the pork, salt, pepper, parsley, dill, and onion mixture to a large bowl and mix well. (Use salt sparingly—the cabbage leaves are brined.)
</span-p>

<h4-tag>Roll the filling</h4-tag><span-p>
Remove the cabbage leaves from the brine. You can soak them in water beforehand to draw out some of the salt.
Cut each leaf in half, fill each piece with a few tbsp of the meat mixture, and roll, nice and tight.
Repeat until all the filling has been used.
</span-p>

<h4-tag>Assemble and bake the rolls</h4-tag><span-p>
Preheat oven to 375℉/190℃.
Chop up the remaining cabbage leaves and add them to a large pot or deep roasting dish with a lid.
Arrange all the rolls over the chopped cabbage and disperse the bacon evenly among the rolls.
Pour the tomato juice over the rolls and top up with some water, if needed, to ensure the rolls are covered with liquid.
Cover the pot with a lid or foil and bake for 2 hours, then remove the cover and cook for another 1 ½-2 hours.
Serve hot with a side of sour cream.</span-p>

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