At the Camara Boierului restaurant in Sibiu, stuffed cabbage with polenta is a particular favorite. Head chef Ioan Aron learned his craft in France and Germany, but he'll never forget this recipe from his grandmother.
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
Marinated white cabbage (one white cabbage marinated for three months in 5 liters water, 500g salt and 100ml white wine)
1½ lb minced pork
4 tsp vegetable oil
Four medium-sized onions, finely chopped
1½ cups celeriac, finely chopped
½ lb ham, diced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup rice
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ lb sauerkraut
1 bay leaf
Fresh dill & thyme
1 smoked knuckle of pork
Sarmale - Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
Either marinate a white cabbage for three months as described above or simply boil up a fresh cabbage in a large saucepan. Add two teaspoons of salt and a quarter of a cup of vinegar to the boiling water. Allow to boil for five to seven minutes on a medium heat. Then remove the cabbage and leave it to dry and cool down.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and fry the onions, celeriac, ham, rice, paprika, parsley, and grated thyme for five minutes. Add part of the tomato sauce to the pan. Remove the sauce from the stove and mix it with the ground pork, adding more thyme and the dill. Season with salt and pepper.
Then take 1 cabbage leaf and fill it with 1-2 tablespoons of the ground pork, wrapping it up to form a cylindrical parcel. Do the same until all the meat is used up.
Cover the base of a deep ovenproof pot with a layer of chopped white cabbage, two to three centimeters deep. Place some of the cabbage rolls on the top and then cover them with another layer of chopped cabbage. Then place the smoked knuckle of pork on top of that, followed by another layer of chopped cabbage, then the remaining cabbage rolls. Finally cover the whole thing with chopped cabbage, add the bay leaf and pour over the remaining tomato sauce. Cook in the oven for two hours at 150 degrees Celsius.
300g maize flour
A pinch of salt,
1 liter water
Bring the water to the boil and add the salt
Quickly stir in the maize and reduce the heat. Cook on a low heat for half an hour, stirring constantly.
The mamaliga is served with the stuffed cabbage, a knuckle of pork and a chilli pepper. Add sour cream to taste.