Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner

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Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner 4 www.compassandfork.comAuthentic cabbage rolls from Bulgaria are easy to make and are a guaranteed way to give some great taste to a vegetable that is exceedingly healthy but is often much-maligned. Traditional Bulgarian food at its best and true comfort food!

Lightly-spiced, ground meat is enveloped with cabbage leaves and then slow-cooked in a tomato-based sauce to permit all of the flavors to develop. You basically end up with steamed cabbage rolls, a very healthy cooking methods. Add a little refreshing dill at the end and you are guaranteed to receive rave reviews from all of the family.

This is perfect comfort food with fall/autumn approaching. Not too heavy a meal but warming enough to satisfy you with the coming change of season. It is also a great dish for increasing the intake of cabbage for the whole family. You will find authentic cabbage rolls everywhere throughout Bulgaria. It is traditional Bulgarian food, as it is throughout all of Eastern Europe.

People have been living in Bulgaria continuously since the stone age so it is not surprising it has a fine tradition of food and wine. But who would know? For some unfathomable reason, Bulgarian cuisine receives no kudos, with neighbors Greece and Turkey, receiving all the media attention. The country that has given the world the bacterium responsible for the world-wide popularity of yogurt is routinely ignored.

Read on to discover why you should pay some attention to Bulgarian wine, as well as Bulgarian cuisine.

Bulgarian Wine Culture Dates Back to the Stone Age

Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner 9 www.compassandfork.comBulgaria has a long history of food and wine. Bulgaria produces fabulous, great value wine in Melnik, not far from Bansko. And indeed archaeologists have discovered evidence of wine making dating back to the Stone Age!

And it is not only wine, how about mastika? A liquor which is 47% proof and is derived from tree resin. It is a small evergreen shrub endemic to the Mediterranean region. Tree resin you say? No way? Isn’t tree resin the basis of maple syrup? Trust me on this, Bulgarian mastika is just as good as Turkish raki or Greek ouzo, it is just that we never hear about it.


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And of course not to be outdone by the Turks, Bulgaria makes a fabulous Rakia, a brandy like drink made from distilled fruit, served at the start of a meal with the shopska salad. The toast is “Nazdrave” meaning to your health! We love those Bulgarian traditions!

Looking for something less alcoholic and healthy? How about the fabulous buza (called boza in other countries). A fermented, wheat drink, coming in at a very low alcohol content of 1%, just perfect for that morning pick me up!

And then there is the totally non-alcolholic Aryan. A yogurt-based drink popular also in Turkey. It is really good for you. It was available everywhere in Bulgaria and it was delicious.

With regards to Bulgarian cuisine, we have already written about Bulgarian yogurt and feta (routinely acknowledged as the world’s most superior) in previous posts. The famous, shopska salad just goes perfectly with rakia and then there is Bulgarian moussaka, made with potato and a yogurt-based topping instead of eggplant and béchamel sauce.

Bulgarian cuisine is full of many other, tasty dishes. It’s an ancient cuisine, so maybe they know a thing or two about how to cook food. Bulgarian food deserves a little more attention.

With that in mind, let’s move onto our easy stuffed cabbage rolls recipe.

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Authentic Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria

These inexpensive, authentic cabbage rolls from Bulgaria are real comfort food, without being too heavy, perfect for an easy to make fall or autumn family dinner.

If you are looking for your children to eat more green vegetables, the mildly-spiced mince stuffing is just the thing to get them excited over cabbage! Although not traditional in Bulgaria, I have opted to use smoked paprika for something a little different. Together with the tomato-based sauce, these easy stuffed cabbage rolls will have your children coming back for more.

What to eat with cabbage rolls? In this case, I’m not sure they need any accompaniments! Given the stuffed cabbage leaves, pork mince filling (including rice and onions) as well as the tomato sauce, authentic cabbage rolls from Bulgaria are really a complete meal in themselves.

Can you freeze cabbage rolls? The jury is still out on that one. Some cooks claim, when you freeze cabbage rolls you end up with a watery mess, while others say you can successfully freeze them, provided you cool them first in the refrigerator, and once cold, place them in the freezer. You do the reverse to thaw them out in the refrigerator, before you gently re-heat them.

Personally, we do not freeze cabbage rolls. There are never any left to freeze! Seriously though, if we have leftover cabbage rolls, we allow them to cool down before placing them in the refrigerator. We prefer to eat the leftovers within 2 or 3 days, as they make an easy lunch to either take to work or enjoy at home.

Other Stuffed Vegetable Recipes

In addition to these authentic cabbage rolls, we feature some other stuffed vegetable recipes on Compass and Fork. I personally think, stuffed vegetable recipes are one of the best ways to increase your child’s veggie intake. In addition, they make wonderful winter warmer comfort foods.

Peruvian food is all the rage at the moment. Find out why with these filling Peruvian stuffed peppers, which go perfectly with scalloped potatoes.

The combination of eggplant and lamb mince is sublime in Turkish Stuffed Eggplants. A delightful meal, which you can also make with beef mince.

And for an appetizer, why not try baked stuffed zucchini flowers (or squash blossoms)? There not as difficult as you might think!

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Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner www.www.compassandfork.com
Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner
Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner
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Inexpensive and high on the taste, these stuffed cabbage rolls are a great way to have your family coming back asking for more.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4people 30minutes 1hour
Servings Prep Time
4people 30minutes
Cook Time
1hour
Ingredients
Servings: people
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Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and blanch the the cabbage leaves, a few at a time, for about 2 minutes. Allow to cool and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, over a low to moderate temperature, heat the oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until softened. Increase the heat to moderate and add the ground pork. Cook for about 5 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  3. When the meat mixture is cool enough to handle, place in a large bowl. Add the tomato paste, dill, rice, paprika, dried mint and season generously with black pepper and sea salt. Mix well to combine and divide the mixture into 8 portions. Form each portion into a sausage shape and wrap inside a blanched cabbage leaf. Place seam side down in a large pot. Repeat for remaining portions. Pour the canned tomatoes over the cabbage rolls and then cover the rolls with boiling water. Place a lid on the pot, bring the cabbage rolls to a boil and then simmer gently for 1 hour.Authentic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Bulgaria an Easy Dinner www.compassandfork.com
  4. For a garnish, serve the cabbage rolls with a sprig of fresh dill.
Recipe Notes

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12 Responses

  1. Dessi Donovan
    | Reply

    Grew up in Bulgaria and stuffed cabbage was often on the menu in my home. In fact, cooked cabbage- vegetarian or with meat- is a favorite in every Bulgarian home. I have not made these rolls in years, but this recipe looks pretty authentic and I’ll give it a try. Bulgaria is indeed a beautiful county, with friendly people and delicious cuisine.

    • Editor
      |

      I’ll bet this post brings back a few memories then. I think it is real comfort food and a great way to get kids to eat cabbage. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Oooo this is fascinating! I love love love cabbage and loved reading about this Bulgarian version! Must try these soon!

    • Editor
      |

      Tina, thanks for your comment. Cabbage rolls are fabulous – a complete meal in one pot too.

  3. Sarah @ Champagne Tastes
    | Reply

    I had stuffed cabbage rolls in Bulgaria last year! They were DELICIOUS. I love this– awesome!

    • Editor
      |

      Sarah, they are one of the favorite meals of Bulgarians that is for sure.

  4. Tara
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos! This cabbage rolls look delicious. I love that you included a history of Bulgarian cuisine. It definitely doesn’t get much recognition.

    • Editor
      |

      Thanks for that. We do love putting a little of the history or country where we see these meals. Poor old Bulgaria gets no love, so happy to spread the word.

  5. Marilyn
    | Reply

    This recipe is very similar to my Brazilian one!! I love stuffed cabbage!!

    • Editor
      |

      It is quite amazing how food emigrates around the world. A fascinating subject actually.

  6. Ali @ Home & Plate
    | Reply

    Yum! These Bulgarian cabbage rolls look delicious especially with the added dill. So tasty and I know this would make a great weekend dinner once the weather cools.

    • Editor
      |

      It is a set and forget when the cabbage rolls are in the pot. And an all in meal too. Very convenient.

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