Sarma is a savory dish of cabbage leaves rolled around a combination of hamburger and rice served over sauerkraut and topped off with a tomato sauce. In Croatia and Serbia this is a traditional meal that they serve for Christmas. I know it is the middle of summer and today in Arizona it is suppose to reach 114 degrees! I made this comforting dish last night for my 95 year old Grandmother, it is her favorite meal that I make. Her Mother in law always made this for my Grandfather and Grandmother when they were newly married. This recipe comes partly from my Great Grandmother and I have tweaked it here and there to make it my own, and I’m very happy with the results. Most of my relatives came from Serbia and Croatia so this recipe is dear to my heart. I took my Grandma for a procedure yesterday and stayed all night with her last night. Let me tell you a little bit about this 95 year old spit fire. She is still living alone, drives a car with her music blaring, plays golf 3 times a week and loves to drink Hot Dam Schnapps! She says the secret to life is to love everyone. She also believes in taking a multiple vitamin everyday and she totally believes in taking oil of oregano, she swears she never gets sick because of this miracle drug. She lost her husband in the year 2000. He had a major stroke 9 years before and she took care of him night and day all by herself. She lifted him in and out of a wheelchair, in and out of a shower, cooked, cleaned and never ever complained about the sacrifice she made to care for her beloved husband of 65 years. She is truly an inspiration to me and I admire her so much. She now lives her days at a retirement community with a golf course and spends time with family and friends. She misses the love of her life everyday, but now calls herself a cougar at 95, flirting with all the men at the club. She has a great outlook on life and truly believes in her faith and her oil of oregano and love! I love you Nana with all my heart! This ones for you! Love, Stacey
This recipe makes 10 cabbage rolls.
First make the sauerkraut mixture below and add to a large casserole dish.
Sauerkraut 32 oz washed and drained
8 slices bacon
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup apple juice
1 tsp caraway seeds
Brown the bacon in a large frying pan until crispy, don’t remove the bacon fat. Next rinse the sauerkraut and add to the bacon in the pan. Add 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar. Next add the brown sugar, salt and pepper, and the caraway seeds. Next add the apple juice and cook the sauerkraut for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Put in a large greased casserole dish. Set aside.
For the cabbage rolls:
1 head of cabbage leaves removed and veins cut out.
1 lb ground beef
1-1/2 cups cooked white rice
1/2 large onion chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup mix
3 Tbs fresh Italian parsley
2 beaten eggs
Place leaves in boiling water for 6 minutes and drain.
In a large frying pan brown the hamburger and add the garlic and onion, cook until the onion becomes soft and the hamburger is done. Add the cooked white rice. Next add the onion soup and 2 Tbs Italian parsley. Mix together until fully incorporated. Next add the beaten eggs. Mix. Lay the cabbage leaves out on a paper towel to dry and put 4 Tbs meat and rice mixture into the middle of the leaf, roll up one end of the leaf then the sides until little bundles are formed. Lay the cabbage rolls over the sauerkraut mixture.
1 can tomato soup
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
In a small sauce pan add the tomato soup and tomato sauce, next add the chicken broth. Add the bay leaf, brown sugar, lemon juice, dash allspice and dash cloves, cook over medium heat until heated through.
Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls and sauerkraut top with 1 Tbs fresh Italian parsley.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.