#1 Croatian comfort dish! We cannot imagine starting the New Year without sarma. It originated in Turkey, and Croatians adopted it during Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
I believe this is the most popular dish in Croatia. It is so popular that one of the biggest Croatian rock bands Hladno Pivo (engl: Cold Beer!) dedicated a whole song to it, a song called Sarma 😀
- 1 large sour cabbage head
- 20 g of smoked bacon or speck, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 500 g ground beef
- 500 g ground pork
- 170 g (2/3 cup) white rice
- 5-6 bay leaves
- smoked ribs or meat (optional and recommended)
- Remove bruised leaves from cabbage and cut out center core. Separate cabbage leaves and rinse them briefly to reduce sourness.
- Saute bacon and onion until golden. Add half the tomato paste. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs with salt, pepper and paprika. Add ground beef and pork along with bacon mixture and rice. Mix thoroughly until combined.
- Place heaped tablespoon of stuffing at core end of each cabbage leaf and roll carefully, tucking in ends.
- Place rolls in layers in Dutch oven or large pot.
First layer at the bottom: chopped unused leaves.
Second layer: the rolls.
Final layer: smoked ribs or meat. Repeat the process until you run out of the ingredients (usually twice).
- On top add remaining tomato paste with bay leaves and add enough water to cover the rolls.
- Cover and simmer on the stove for 2 to 2-1/2 hours on low to medium heat.
It is usually served with mashed potatoes. You know the drill 😀 Cook potatoes, mash with some butter and sour cream. Season with salt!
Tip: Try them with Croatian potatoes: Restani Krumpir! 😉
What is your ultimate comfort dish?