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Romanian sarmale


I often eat sarmale for lunches or parties organized by Romanian friends: always excellent.
Of course every time with something different in flavor and filling.

And always, when I asked for the recipe, I received one new version.
Of course I could not be bullied by what to avoid to prepare them, because I'm quite good and, basically, recall similar preparations of Central Europe, the Balkans and the Near East!

To prepare them I decided to put myself with good will to check and compare all the versions I had and to look for common points; then to see which ingredients could be, among all those indicated, the most suitable for a version not too complicated.
The result is what I describe here. The opinion of the guests was extremely positive; every time I prepared them; although I have not always put polenta on the table!

The ingredients and their proportions can be highly variable, particularly the relationship between meat and rice; and also it is regarding the cabbage often get also planning other preparations that require it: so I keep aside a couple of cabbage, the most beautiful leaves to the rolls and the rest use it for soups, pizzoccheri and more.


cabbage, about



mixed minced meat (pork + beef)









spices, according to the taste:



salt and pepper


Chili pepper





tomato concentrate



beef broth






EVO oil (optional)




Remove the core from the cabbage with a strong and sharp knife. Carefully remove all the leaves so as to leave them whole and then wash them well to remove all traces of soil. Then burn them in boiling salted water just enough to soften them. Drain and let them cool.

In a pan fry the onion with the butter and the chopped bacon purposes. As soon as the onion begins to turn golden and the bacon to pour the fat, add the ground beef.

Add the favorite spices, not forgetting the pepper. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix a few minutes all the ingredients. Remove from the heat and add the uncooked rice mixing well. Allow it to cool enough to handle it.

Prepare the leaves of the cabbage by removing the central hard stem, keeping it aside, and dividing the larger leaves into two.

Lay a small amount of stuffing near the soft end of the leaf which then folds over it. Then fold the whole side edges over the whole and then finish to roll up to form a well closed roll.

Sauté briefly in a large pan with a little 'oil (or butter) hard coasts kept aside and later placing above all the rolls, to fill the pan well (in this picture does not look good: I had prepared a few rolls...).

Cover with hot stock and bring to a boil adding also tomato paste.

Cover and cook over medium-low heat (the liquid should really simmering just barely) for a couple of hours.

Serve with polenta and sour cream possibly diluted with a little of the cooking sauce. Also of the strained yogurt It lends purpose.

They can also be used, at the discretion, to accompany other dishes as well.


  • The filling should not necessarily be cooked in the pan for a long time: only enough to blend the flavors.
    then will cook enough in the two hours of baking rolls.
  • In this preparation for the photos I added to the chilled stuffing of crumbled feta cheese: and there was very good.
  • In addition to the strained yogurt I tried to accompany them with it too tzatzikiIt will not be adherent to their own tradition but it was just good.
  • The very kind lady Aneta, superfine cook Dela Silesia, I was immediately pointed out, given the photos of my preparation of sarmale that that, with the name of golabki, is also one of the national dishes of his homeland, Poland! And he immediately gave me his version that you find here: I gołąbki of Aneta.