113 Moldova – Sarmale
Stuffing these cabbage rolls was easier than I thought it would be. Sarmale have a nice blend of flavors and textures. The cabbage kind of mimicked pasta like in a manicotti.
1 large head green cabbage, cored
1/2 C rice, parboiled for 10 minutes and drained
1 t crushed garlic
4 T chopped fresh arugula
2 T ground almonds
1/2 T sweet paprika
1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
freshly ground sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 C sauerkraut
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
1 C crushed tomatoes
1/2 C chicken stock
Place ground meat in a mixing bowl with parboiled rice, paprika, salt, pepper, arugula, and fresh thyme. Mix well with your clean hands. Take out the core of the cabbage. Leave head whole. Place in large pot of boiling water to wilt the outer leaves. You will be able to gently pull off whole cabbage leaves. Trim off thick center vein of cabbage leaves. Make a pile of leaves on your work station. Shake excess water off.
Place 2 T of meat and rice mixture on a leaf (starting at the thick end) and roll it up and tuck in ends with your finger. Make as many as you can. Arrange the rolls in baking dish. Pour the chicken stock over the rolls. And spoon the crushed tomatoes on top. Arrange rinsed sauerkraut on top, lay the bay leaves on top. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, cover with foil, and cook slowly for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the rice is tender. Serve hot.