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Kolozsvári Rakott Káposzta | Unstuffed Hungarian Cabbage Casserole



بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم


السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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While family and friends are freezing their buns off up north in Europe, the weather is a bit milder and forgiving here in Algeria. I guess that's just another good reason to live here. But anywhere you are, there or here winter nights are cold and call for hearty dishes.

While there are myriad of hearty Algerian dishes to prepare, during the colder months I opt more for dishes from my native Hungary. My ancestors survived for thousands of years on the harsh Euro-Asian steppe on hearty rich dishes that they cooked from hunted wild game.  I think there's something spiritual and comforting about cooking and baking foods that your ancestors loved and thrived, and sharing these adventurous culinary stories with my children. 

At this time of year, cabbage is bountiful here in Algeria and I'm sure in most countries in the northern hemisphere. And while many people may frowing at the thought of cabbage. It's actually a cheap cruciferous vegetable, which gives you a huge nutritional bang for your buck. This humble food has always been a staple fall and winter food for the poor and in cold climates people of all classes.

Ever wondered what to do with it? I asked on Facebook and you all had some really great ideas!

Today’s dish is something I make regularly. I love the slightly sweet and slightly taste of cabbage rolls, of course I do I'm Hungarian. I'm pretty sure Hungary has more recipes for cabbage than any other country in the world. And yes! I'm using the superlative on this one! And stuffed cabbage is one of the most popular classics in Hungary and all of Eastern Europe. It's a dish that has immigrated to almost all parts of the world. And you know when we talk about traditional dishes, the one question that comes to mind is ...



I remember my mother and grandmother preparing stuffed cabbage. Boiling and trimming the leaves. Mixing the filling. Rolling the leaves. And slow cooking the delicate rolls for hours. While it was delicious, it was also real time-consuming.While the result is well worth the effort, sometimes, well most of the time I'm not up for the extra effort. So one way to save time and also warm up the house is making a casserole that comes from the Hungarian city that is now a part of Romania called Kolozsvár. This casserole is hearty fare that I learned from my grandmother. It'll warm you to the bone on cold nights. I love the smell of this casserole in the oven. The aroma fills the house and seems to put everyone in a good mood. This cabbage roll casserole can be made in a fraction of the time, but tastes just as good as the real thing .

Along with the traditional flavors in this dish, I find myself whenever I prepare Hungarian dishes talking to my children about my homeland, its traditions and the fond memories of my childhood. Also a place where we create new traditions as a multi-cultural Muslim family. 

The traditional Kolozsvári rakott káposzta that my grandmother taught uses sauerkraut instead of fresh green cabbage and ground pork, and would topped with sour cream then garnish with thin slices of spicy Hungarian sausage called kolbasz. While sauerkraut is the traditional, old-fashioned and actually THE original probiotic food not everyone in my family appreciates its super tangy flavor. And of course, the use of pork is strictly forbidden in the Islamic dietary laws - so I've changed the recipe slightly better to suit the taste of my family.

So here's a recipe for a comforting and hearty almost effortless halal casserole. And even better yet, it’s gluten free, high in protein and full of fiber!

{ KOLOZSVÁRI RAKOTT KÁPOSZTA  }  

UNSTUFFED HUNGARIAN CABBAGE CASSEROLE 

Twist on the Eastern Europe classic stuffed cabbage,  easy enough for busy weekday dinners.


EQUIPMENT

  • 33 x 23cm baking dish, wooden spoon, large sauce pot

INGREDIENTS

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YIELD: 6-8 servings
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOK TIME: 30-40 mins
  • one large (about 2 kg or 8 cups) head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 250g - ½ lb ground turkey
  • 250g - 1 1/3 cups uncooked rice (I used basmati)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large onions, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp (or to taste) hot Hungarian paprika (or any other hot pepper ei: harissa, cayenne, etc)
  • 4 large beefsteak tomatoes, grated
  • 225g - 8oz tomato sauce/tomato passata (I use this one)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or about ½ tsp dried)
  • ½ dried marjoram
  • 225ml - ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I use garlic infused vinegar)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp or 1 cube of sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 2-3 TBS oil
  • water
  • TOPPING: You have the option of topping this casserole two ways; the traditional way with sour cream or with cheese as I have done.


Topping 1:
250g - 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Topping 2:
225ml sour cream, optional, mixed with 1 tablespoon flour

METHOD

SOAK the rice in water for about 10 minutes in a large bowl. Then rinse the rice four times until the water runs clear. Place the rice in a large saucepan with double the amount of water. Add about 1 tsp of salt, or to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, 16 to 18 minutes (check only toward the end of cooking time). The rice should be studded with craters, or steam holes, when it is ready. Set aside.
IN a large skillet, brown the turkey and onion over medium heat until the mea is no longer pink. Add the garlic and stir fry for a minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.

SET the mixture aside to cool enough that you can stir in the egg without scrambling it. The egg will help to bind the mixture and stay together when serving.

NOW preheat the oven to 180°C - 350°F.

GENTLY spray or lightly grease your oblong 33 x 23cm baking dish. Spread out half the cabbage on the bottom of the pan. Next, continue to layer the rice-meat mixture. Then, repeat the layering again using up all the reamining filling.

NOW you can decide if you would like to use the traditional sour cream topping OR the more modern and family-friendly cheddar cheese version.

---> If you're using sour cream. Spread the sour cream, if used, as the final layer. The dish should be relatively firm with not too much sauce. If necessary, add a small amount of water to prevent scorching.

COVER tightly with foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.

----> If you're using the cheese topping 40 minutes into baking remove foil and sprinkle on cheese.

BAKE uncovered an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown.

to serve 
Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh herbs and sprinkling of paprika. Cut into squares and serve hot.


Storage
This casserole can be made in advance then stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to a month. To serve, simply heat up in the oven for about 30 minutes in the oven.

Allergy - Friendly
And optionally you could make this dish low - carb and grain-free by using cauliflower rice instead of the rice.

CATEGORIES: QUICK AND EASY, meat dishes, casserole, hungarian, european




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2 comments:

Asmaa Umm Hamza said...

As-salaamu Alaikum Sister, mashaAllah at first look I thought lasagne :-) great use of cabbage.
My family and i are currently enjoying jelbana au poulet this winter, I love the natural sweetness the dish has.

maissoutaloumkilsafoufa said...

salem

je suis heureuse de te retrouver avec ce bon ptit plat ma cha Allah
merci henia