Thursday, January 01, 2015

Bulgarian Sarmi with Minced Meat and Sauerkraut

Bulgarian Sarmi are the small cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with delicious mixture of mince, rice and spices (for meat lovers) or just with rice and spices, for vegetarians. During summer when there are a lot of fresh vine leaves (Bulgaria is a famous wine producing country), the stuffed vine leaves are prepared widely. Here are the recipes for the meat-including and vegetarian version. If you visit Bulgaria in summer, I highly recommend you to try them. Every winter there are a lot of sauerkraut heads sold on every farmer’s market and this is the time for the sauerkraut sarmi (Sarmi s kisselo zele), which meat versions are with chopped meat (recipe here) or minced meat (today's recipe).
This dish is very traditional for the Christmas eve and for the New Year’s menu. 
Happy New Year!
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 stalk of leek (or 1 medium onion), finely chopped
  • 1lb 2oz  (500 g) minced pork (or mixed pork and beef)
  • 3 oz (100 g) short-grain rice
  • 1 tsp paprika, mild or hot
  • 1 tsp dried savory
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 30 sauerkraut leaves (if some are large, they could be cut into half)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups sauerkraut juice or vegetable stock 
Prepare the stuffing:
Put olive oil in a frying pan and set heat to medium. Add chopped leek or onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the minced meat, tear into small pieces and continue cooking without a lid until semi-cooked (about 15 minutes). Add rice to the mixture stir and season with the spices (salt, pepper, cumin, thyme and paprika). Add half cup of the sauerkraut juice, stir for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
Prepare the stuffed cabbage leaves:
Place each cabbage leaf on a board with the inner part of the leaf facing upwards and cut away the central vein.
Put about 1-2 Tbsp of the filling in the middle of a cabbage leaf, fold in sides and roll up leaf completely to enclose filling. Wrap well, so that the filling can not come out during baking and put on the bottom of a pot (they will need to be in at least two layers). Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.
Pour the remaining sauerkraut juice (or stock) on the wrapped Sarmi until it almost covers the parcels. Place pot on top of the stove and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the mince and rice in the stuffing are cooked and tender. Serve hot with some dry hot peppers.  


  1. Dear Meli, happy new year to you my dear!! Wishing you a huge success in New Year!



    1. Happy new year, Yelena! I wish you all the best, it is good to have you as a friend! Hugs