Cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat
Based on my grandfather’s recipe
1 head of marinated cabbage (Bulgarian sauerkraut, recipe soon)
3 pork chops, with bone
2 raw sausages (quality ones, with pleasant spices)
1/3 cup of round rice
3-4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 leek (white part only)
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried savory
Allspice and bay leaf
Mince the onion, leek and meat, keeping the bones of the pork chops. Sauté the onions and meat in a little oil until the first become transparent and the second pale. Add the sausages, skinned and crumbled with a wooden spoon in the saucepan. Then add the rice and 1/3 cup of hot water. Stew until the rice absorbs the liquid, but everything remains still juicy. Season the stuffing with all the spices, except the last two.
Separate cabbage leaves, cut away the thick parts. Spread the larger or torn ones on the bottom of a deep terracotta baking dish. Sprinkle over a few grains of allspice and 1-2 bay leaves. Also place the chop bones. From the best cabbage leaves make small stuffed bundles. To do this, put a little stuffing at the base of each leaf (about 1 tablespoon) and wrap it tight around the filling. Tuck all the stuffed leaves in the terracotta pot, making sure to tighten them well. Pour over enough boiling water to cover them up to the middle of the top layer.
Press the stuffed cabbage leaves with an inverted plate, lid the dish or seal it with 2 layers of aluminum foil and bake at 200°C for about 100-110 minutes. Optionally, remove the lid towards the end of baking and let the stuffed bundles brown slightly.
One truly Bulgarian dish, typical for the Christmas holidays. As you might not have the special sauerkraut required, replace it with fresh cabbage. You just need to boil it in salted water in order to soften its leaves and to put 2 or 3 tablespoons of apple vinegar in the hot water you pour into the dish just before you bake it