Sauerkraut Meat Wraps / Sarma

This dish is, hands down, one of my favorite local specialties. It’s an old folk dish, hearty and filling. And it is said that it tastes the best on the seventh day, when you reheat it for the seventh time. So you simmer it in your largest pot, hoping that it will actually last for seven days. It never does, though. We always polish off whatever we have in a couple of days.

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Sarma is traditionally prepared for New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s supposed to be eaten after midnight, when everyone already has a steady alcohol flow in their bloodstreams. It warms you up and puts you back on your feet, so you can go party some more. Isn’t that a perfect dish, the one that brings you back to life?

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Don’t get intimidated by what seems like a lengthy process. Making a batch of Sarma isn’t really such a big deal.And, once cooked, you’ll have lunch and dinner situations solved for many days to come. This dish also freezes really well.

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INGREDIENTS:

(Yields 20 wraps / 0.96 EUR per wrap / 19.30 EUR for all)

1 medium sized whole sauerkraut head, about 2.5 kilos (5.00 EUR)

0.2 kilos of smoked bacon (1.47 EUR)

1 large onion (0.10 EUR)

1 chili pepper (0.07 EUR)

4 garlic cloves (0.09 EUR)

Handful of fresh parsley (0.13 EUR)

1.5 kilos of 50:50 mixed minced beef and pork meat (11.00 EUR)

1 large egg (0.20 EUR)

1 cup rice (0.13 EUR)

Crack of fresh black pepper (0.01 EUR)

3 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika, divided (0.20 EUR)

2 bay leaves (0.03 EUR)

1 tbsp tomato concentrate (0.07 EUR)

0.5 kilo cured smoked pork ribs, broken into smaller chunks(0.80 EUR)

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METHOD:

First taste your sauerkraut. If you think it’s too salty or sour, give it a quick rinse from excess brine. Using a small paring knife, gently separate 20 whole leaves from the head, cutting out and discarding the tough middle vein, and set aside. You’ll use these to make wraps. Thinly slice the remaining cabbage, discarding the tough middle stem. Place about 1/3 of shredded cabbage on the bottom of a large pot. This will ensure that wraps don’t stick to the pot and burn while cooking.

Finely chop bacon, onion, garlic, chili pepper and parsley. Add all to a large bowl and mix with your hands with minced meat, egg, rice, black pepper and 1 tbsp of paprika until thoroughly combined. I intentionally avoid adding any salt to the mixture, as cured meats and sauerkraut are already salty enough on its own.

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Squeeze a handful of meat mixture in a ball and wrap into sauerkraut leaf you prepared earlier. Neatly arrange wraps on the cabbage bed on your pot bottom, squeezing chunks of pork ribs in between and filling any gaps with shredded sauerkraut. When you finish the first row, add a row of shredded sauerkraut, sprinkle with 1 tbsp of paprika, add a bay leaf and repeat once more with another row of wraps. Once everything is used up, sprinkle with remaining tbsp of paprika, add bay leaf,tbsp of tomato concentrate and enough water to the pot that everything is submerged.

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Place pot on high heat until it starts boiling. Then reduce heat to medium and cook with lid cracked open for 1.5 hours. Don’t even attempt to stir during cooking as the wraps will fall apart.

Once cooked, serve on its own or with some mashed potatoes.

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 Ovo je jelo, bez imalo dvojbe, meni najdraži lokalni specijalitet. To je staro narodno jelo, zasitno i punog okusa. Kažu da je sarma najbolja sedmi dan, kada ju sedmi puta podgrijete. Pa ju uvijek kuham u najvećem loncu, u nadi da će nam možda i trajati sedam dana. To se još nije desilo. Uvijek smažemo sve što imamo u samo par dana.

Sarma se tradicionalno jede na dočeku Nove Godine, iza ponoći, kada su svi već dobro potkresani i imaju dovoljno alkohola u krvotoku. Ali sarma je tu da vas ugrije i digne natrag na noge, da možete dalje tulumariti. Zar jelo koje vas vraća natrag u život ne zvuči savršeno?

Nemojte se bojati pripreme sarme koja se možda čini dugačkom i kompliciranom. Sve je to zapravo jako jednostavno, a kada se sve skuha, imati ćete ručak i večeru riješene za sljedećih nekoliko dana. Također, sarma se i super smrzava.

SASTOJCI:

(Za 20 sarmi / 7,23 kn po sarmi / 144,70 kn za sve)

1 srednje velika cijela glavica kiselog kupusa, oko 2,5 kg (37,50 kn)

0,20 kn dimljenog špeka (11,00 kn)

1 veliki luk (0,75 kn)

1 čili papričica (0,50 kn)

4 češnja češnjaka (0,70 kn)

Pregršt svježeg peršina (1,00 kn)

1,5 kg 50:50 mješavine mljevenog goveđeg i svinjskog mesa (82,50 kn)

1 jaje (1,50 kn)

1 šalica riže (1,00 kn)

Prstohvat svježe mljevenog crnog papra (0,05 kn)

3 žlice slatke crvene paprike, podijeljene (1,50 kn)

2 lovorova lista (0,20 kn)

1 žlica koncentrata rajčice (0,50 kn)

0,5 kg dimljenih suhih svinjskih rebrica, nasiječenih na manje komade (6,00 kn)

PRIPREMA:

Prvo probajte kiselo zelje. Ako je prekiselo i preslano, isperite ga pod tekućom vodom. Nožićem nježno skinite 20 cijelih listova i odstranite im i bacite tvrdu glavnu žilu. Stavite na stranu. U te ćete listove kasnije umatati sarme. Tanko narežite ostatak zelja, a debelju stabljiku bacite. Oko 1/3 narezanog zelja rasporedite po dnu lonca, jer ćete tako osigurati da se sarme ne prime za dno i ne zagore dok se kuhaju.

Sitno nasjeckajte špek, luk, češnjak, čili i peršin pa ih u velikoj zdjeli rukama pomiješajte sa mljevenim mesom, jajem, rižom, paprom i 1 žlicom slatke paprike, dok ne dobijete jednoličnu smjesu. Ja namjerno ne solim meso iz razloga što su i kiselo zelje i suho meso dovoljno slani da začine svu sarmu.

Oblikujte loptice od mješavine mljevenog mesa i umatajte u ranije pripremljene listove zelja. Slažite sarme na posteljicu od narezanog zelja u loncu, a između njih rupe popunjavajte sa suhim rebricama i ostatkom narezanog zelja. Kada složite prvi red, pobacajte po vrhu još malo narezanog zelja, posipajte sa 1 žlicom paprike i stavite lovorov list, pa sve ponovite u drugom redu dok ne potrošite sve sastojke. Na kraju sve posipajte preostalom žlicom slatke paprike, dodajte list lovora, žlicu koncentrata rajčice i prelite vodom dok sarme ne budu potopljene.

Stavite lonac na jaku vatru dok ne zakipi, potom smanjite na srednje i kuhajte sa odškrinutim poklopcem 1,5 sat. Nemojte niti pokušavati miješati jer će vam se sarme raspasti.

Kada je sarma gotova, poslužite ju samu ili sa pire krumpirom.

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Sauerkraut Meat Wraps / Sarma

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