Sarmale/ Cabbage Rolls

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Sarmalele sunt mancarea noastra traditionala. Imbracate frumos in frunze de varza acra si umplute cu carne tocata de porc sau mix de vita si porc, sunt o minunatie pe masa de Craciun sau in oricare zi de sarbatoare!

Pentru cca 40 de sarmale, dau un numar asa fictiv, pentru ca niciodata nu stiu cate imi ies. Si mai conteaza si cat de mari le facem.

Eu folosesc in general 1 kg de carne.


1 kg carne tocata de porc (sau mix vita si porc)

1 ceapa mare

4 linguri orez

piper si sare dupa gust

2 linguri pasta de tomate

un paharel de vin

cimbru dupa gust

boia de ardei (o lingurita)

foi de dafin si piper boabe

sunculita afumata (sau costita, kaiser etc)

Pregatim frunzele de varza cu o seara inainte. Cel putin asa fac eu. Daca sunt prea acre le punem intr-un vas cu apa sa iasa sarea si acritura. Noua ne plac mai acre.

Scoatem frunzele cele mai subtiri si le taiem nervura principala. Le scurgem intr-o sita si apoi le vom umple cu carne.

Umplutura o facem asa:

Sotam ceapa taiata marunt in putin ulei si adaugam si orezul cand devine sticloasa. Mai mestecam de cateva ori in ea apoi o punem peste carnea tocata. Adaugam sare (nu multa, ca o sa traga de la varza sarea) piper si cimbru dupa gust.  Apoi boiaua de ardei si vinul si pasta de tomate si framantam bine carnea pana se incorporeaza toate ingredientele. Inainte nu puneam nici pasta de tomate si nici vin in sarmale, dar de la o vreme asa fac compozitia, ies mult mai gustoase!

 Umplem frunzele si le rulam formand sarmale mai mici sau mai mari, dupa cum va plac.

Intr-un vas emailat sau fonta, punem varza tocata pe fundul acestuia, cateva boabe de piper si o foaie de dafin, apoi asezam sarmalele in cercuri concentrice pana cand formam un strat. Mai punem un rand de varza tocata peste care punem si niste costita afumata, boabe de piper si o foaie de dafin apoi continuam cu alt rand de sarmale. Cand se umple cratita, deasupra punem varza tocata si o crenguta de cimbru. Eventual marar uscat daca va place.

Adaugam apa si punem pe foc pana cand da cateva clocote. Eu le fierb cam 20 de minute apoi le bag in cuptor si le coc la foc mic cca 2-3 ore. Spre final, lichidul din cratita scade (ca se umfla orezul in sarmale :-), si putem sa mai adaugam cate un paghar doua de pa sau chiar vin alb. Si spre final punem deasupra suc de rosii sau pasta de tomate. Noua asa ne plac , sau mai bine zis asa se face in Muntenia, ca prin Ardeal se fac albe.

Se papa cu multa pofta alaturi de o mamaliga fierbinte, numai dupa ce ati baut un paharel de tuiculita tare si musai fiarta !

Pofta mare!!!

Sarmale/ Cabbage Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cabbage rolls! Our traditional main dish for Christmas or Easter, ofcourse they don't miss from our table on any celebration day!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: romanian
Serves: 40
  • 1 kg ground meat (pork or mix of pork and beef)
  • 4 spoons of rice
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 glass of wine
  • salt and pepper
  • thyme (or summer savory)
  • 2 spoons of tomato paste
  • cabbage leaves (from sauerkraut)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • smoked bacon or smoked pork fat
  1. Prepare the cabbage leaves from a night before. Cut the main rib and then put them in a sieve to drain. If they are too sour , put them in bowl with water for couple hours to make them less salty or less sour. We like them sour 🙂
  2. Saute the onion until becomes translucent. Add rice and stir few more times then put the mixture over the meat. Add salt (a pinch not more, because the cabbage is salted anyway), pepper and thyme (I prefer summer savory, it has more flavor). Add the wine, tomato paste and paprika and mix well with your hands until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Before, I wasn't adding the wine, neither the tomato paste in the meat, now I do it this way, they are more flavorful.
  4. Then we fill each leaf with meat and we form rolls.
  5. We will use a email pan or a cast iron pan, layered with shredded cabbage on the bottom. Add few peppercorns and a bay leaf, then arrange the cabbage rolls in a circular lines. Put one more layer of shredded cabbage and add some more peppercorns, bayleaf and some smoked bacon. This will give the rolls an awesome flavor!!
  6. On top of the last layer, has to be shredded cabbage. I use some summer savory or dry dill and add couple cups of water in the pan.
  7. You should boil it on top of the stove for 20-30 minutes then put it in the oven at low (175C, or 350-375F) and cook it for 2h-30 at least. The best cabbage rolls are done at very low heat for 3-4 hours, if you have the time. Check the pot from time to time, as the liquid evaporates quickly because the rice inflates. So add more water from time to time.
  8. Toward the end, add some tomato juice on top and shake the pot to incorporate and bake for another 30 min.
  9. They are amazing! with the smoky flavor, you will love them!
  10. They can be served with polenta and sour cream, and some hot pepper, only after you had a shot of Plum brandy! That is the traditional way ;-))
  11. Enjoy!

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