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Töltött Káposzta: Hungarian Meat-Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

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Adjust Servings:
1 Head Green Cabbage (or Savoy), Cored
1 Onion, Diced
2 or 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Lb (450gm) Ground Beef
1 Lb (450gm) Ground Pork
1½ Cups White Rice
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 Cups Tomato Sauce
1 Cup Water/Stock
1 Kg (~2lbs) Sauerkraut
1½ Cups Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Oil Or butter, if you prefer.
2 Tbsp Paprika
To-Taste Amount Salt
To-Taste Amount Pepper

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Töltött Káposzta: Hungarian Meat-Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

Supposedly, there was a saying in 18th-century Hungary that went, "Meat and cabbage are the coat of arms of Hungary." Töltött Káposzta, this recipe here, would probably be it.

  • Dairy
  • Pork




Cabbage rolls, also known as stuffed cabbage, are a very common food throughout all of eastern Europe. This Hungarian variety, known as Töltött Káposzta, is essentially stuffed with pork and beef and sits on a bed of sauerkraut and tomato sauce, and is topped with sour cream. It is the quintessential Hungarian dish, perhaps right up there with goulash.



Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
Wash sauerkraut in cold water and squeeze-dry.
Bring large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil; add the cored head of cabbage to the boiling water.


After a minute or two, use tongs to start removing leaves from the outside of the head of cabbage. No strength should be used, they should pull right off when ready.
Take removed leaves and place into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Trim (or pound lightly) the large vein on the back of each cabbage leaf to create a flat leaf surface.


Heat oil/butter in a skillet on medium heat and lightly sauté the onion (not browned), then add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté for another minute or two; remove from heat and allow to cool. In Hungary, it is common to sauté cubed bacon and use its fat to cook the
onions and garlic.


Mix together the ground pork and beef, rice, egg, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl with the onion/garlic sauté. You could also season your meat filling with fresh marjoram or dill, diced, as Hungarians often do.


Spread out a cooked & flattened cabbage leaf, vein-side down, and place about 1/3 cup of the mixture/filling in the middle; fold the bottom of the leaf up, then each side, then finally the top, like an eggroll. Repeat. Do not roll cabbage too tightly around filling, as the rice needs room to expand while it cooks.


Mix the tomato sauce, stock/water, and the salt and pepper together and place about 1/3 cup of this mixture at the bottom of a large baking dish. Spread the rinsed and drained sauerkraut over the sauce mixture, and then finally place all of the stuffed cabbage rolls into the dish, tightly and seam-side-down. Pour the remaining sauce mixture over the rolls.
Sometimes, Hungarians use white wine instead of water or stock in the sauce mixture.


Cover dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water/stock to the dish every 20 minutes or so as needed to keep replenishing the fluids that the rice absorbs as it cooks and expands.
Top with sour cream and serve hot.

Christian E.

Christian started as a travel writer over at Everywhere Fare's sister site, Dauntless Jaunter. He is a xenophile who loves documenting cultures through their history, legends, stories, and, as it is here, their cuisines.

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