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In Croatia, we discover the most tender, flavorful stuffed cabbage leaves

Paprika-Pork Stuffed Cabbage

2½ hours

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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.




Don’t undercook the cabbage when boiling to soften the leaves. The leaves, including the thick rib near the base, must be tender enough to roll up around the filling. The smaller inner leaves of the cabbage head will soften more quickly than the sturdier outer layers. And don’t rinse the rice before cooking; the starch released by the grains during cooking thickens the sauce.

2½ hours


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