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Paprika-Pork Stuffed Cabbage
In Croatia, stuffed cabbage is made with fermented whole cabbage leaves, which are not easy to source in the U.S. To mimic the tangy-salty flavor of fermented cabbage using fresh cabbage, we cook the head in a highly seasoned mixture of water and vinegar. Before cooking, we core the head so the leaves separate easily; this also hastens cooking because water can seep between the layers. If convenient, the cabbage leaves can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated. The cabbage rolls also can be assembled and refrigerated for up to eight hours, but reserve the sauce separately. Before baking, layer the sauce and stuffed cabbage into the baking dish as directed, then bake, upping the baking time to 1 hour.
pound head green cabbage
cups white vinegar
01Using a sharp paring knife, cut out and discard the core from the cabbage, including about 1 inch around it. Remove and discard any bruised outer leaves. Place a wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. In a large pot over high, boil 3 quarts water, the vinegar, bay, peppercorns and 3 tablespoons salt. Add the head of cabbage, submerging it so water flows into the hollow. Cover and cook until the outer leaves float free and the thickest part of their ribs begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the leaves to the rack to drain. Continue to cook the cabbage, transferring leaves to the rack as they separate, until most of the head has been used and only the very center remains; discard the unused portion. Cool the leaves completely.
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