Stuffed cabbage rolls

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A delicious traditional Romanian dish, served around Christmas but not only.

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Ingredients:

* 2 pickled cabbages
* 1 kg minced pork meat (you can use lamb, veal, but traditionally is made out of pork)
* 1 coffee cup of rice (150 gr)
* 2 onions
* 1 chillipepper (optional)
* 3 carrots (optional)
* 1 glass wine
* tomatoe paste
* 3 bunches of greens: parsli, dill, thyme
* bay leaves, pepper, salt

Preparation:

Separate and wash the pickled cabbage leaves. Cut the hard veins. Wash the rice. Finely chop the onion and half of the greens. Mix the minced meat, onion, carrots (if any), greens, rice (crude), salt, pepper.

Fill the cabbage leaves and roll them gently. Try to close the edges but not too tight so the rice can inflate. In a deep sauce pan pour a bit of oil or lard. Place a layer of cabbage leaves unrolled, one of finely chopped cabbage and one of stuffed rolls. Add tomatoe paste on top of each roll layer. Last layer should be of chopped cabbage, covered with bay leaves, dill, thyme and tomatoe paste. Add wine, a bit of water if necessary. Place them on a small fire and let them cook until they dry up a bit (for few hours). Hint: For a better taste you can place small pieces of smoked bacon in between the rolls layers.

To be served hot with polenta and red wine.

(The Romanian name of the dish: Sarmale / Sarmalute in foi de varza)