S is for Sarma

As you know I think C is for Cookie and T is for Tofu. Well, S is for Sarma, which is better than good enough for me.

What is sarma?

Sarma is a dish of cabbage leaves filled with a meat and rice mixture and rolled – aka ‘cabbage rolls.’ It has a million alternate names (hyperbole alert!) but we call it sarma in my house, which is actually a Turkish word. I find this curious because my great-greater-greatest Austrian grandparents didn’t come from Turkey. Not surprisingly, my Austrian ancestors came from Austria. Whatever the case, this is a gooooood recipe.

I do have an alternate family recipe that we make sometimes, but I think I prefer this Señorita Martha Stewart version. Both recipes are very similar, although this one doesn’t have sauerkraut added into the tomato broth. Throw some in if you love it – I won’t judge – In fact, I might even come over to eat some myself. Yum.

Source: Martha Stewart
Printable Recipe

1 head green cabbage (~2+ lbs)
1T butter
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2C cooked rice
8oz ground beef
8oz ground pork
1 green bell pepper, chopped finely
2 stalks celery, chopped finely (you can leave on the leaves)
1T dried parsley
salt, pepper
4C tomato sauce (or puree)
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4C sour cream

Carefully remove center core of cabbage using knife. Alternatively, you can use the slam-it-on-the-counter technique. I’m not going to detail that process on my blog. Basically, slam the head of cabbage stem-side down on the counter a few times. Supposedly this works for everyone but me.

In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add cored cabbage head. Boil for 3-5 minutes – until outer leaves turn bright green.  Lift cabbage out of water and remove outer leaves. Return remaining head to boiling water and cook for additional 2 minutes. Pull out of water and remove outer leaves. Continue this process until all leaves are cooked and removed. Reserve 2C of cabbage water. Trim the thick center part off of each cabbage leaf. Reserve the biggest, most outer leaves. You will use these to line the pot.

In a saute pan, melt butter. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 6-7 minutes. In a bowl, combine beef, pork, onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, parsley flake, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.  Place about 1/3C of rice filling into each trimmed cabbage leaf. Fold the sides over teh filling and roll it up (starting with the stem end). Repeat until you run out of filling or leaves.

Line a dutch oven (or a large pot for those of us who don’t have a dutch oven) with the large outer cabbage leaves. Place filled cabbage rolls into the bottom of the lined pot. Pour tomato puree and 2C cabbage water over the cabbage rolls. The liquid should be covering the cabbage rolls. Sprinkle chopped apple over the top of the cabbage leaves. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour until cabbage is tender tender tender. Add additional tomato sauce or water if needed.

Place sour cream in a small bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of hot tomato cabbage mixture from pot. Whisk to combine. Add warmed sour cream mixture back into pot and stir to combine. Serve with additional sour cream if desired.


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