In the Kitchen with Donna Simonette
Like Magda Horvath, the heroine of my upcoming romance, A Sweeter Spot, I am a half Hungarian-American woman from Connecticut. Also like Magda, I am fortunate enough to be married to an amazing man from Virginia, and he loves this recipe. We enjoy making it together, as it’s kind of time-consuming and goes faster with two people. But, boy oh boy, is it worth it in the end! Unlike its more famous Polish cousin, Hungarian stuffed cabbage is served in a bowl in a tomato sauce and topped with a dollop of sour cream. Decadent, creamy, and delicious.
This stuffed cabbage recipe was passed down to my Irish/English-American mother from her mother-in-law, my Hungarian grandmother. It’s always been a family favorite and is yummy! But, be warned, this recipe has been passed down through my family in the oral tradition, so at points it might be a little vague. Fear not! It always comes out tasting delicious! But if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments, and I will answer you to the best of my ability!
Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage
• 1 head of cabbage
• Capful of caraway seeds
• Large can of tomato juice
• 1 ½- 2 lbs. of ground beef
• ¼-1/2 c. uncooked rice
• Couple of shakes of dried onion flakes (I did mention this recipe was passed done orally, didn’t I? All the amounts are approximate.)
• Couple of shakes of Mrs. Dash (my Irish mother’s addition, it’s not original to recipe, but tasty!)
Cook the head of cabbage in a big pot of boiling water for around 20 minutes. Put it in a colander to cool. Sprinkle the cabbage with a capful of caraway seeds
Once cool, cut out the core and carefully pull off whole leaves (Cut up the small and extra leaves to put in the sauce). Cut off the hard ends, so that each cabbage leaf will roll easily.
Put one Tbsp. of meat/rice mixture in each leaf. Roll leaf around meat mixture and tuck at each end to seal.
Pour the large can of tomato juice into a large pot. Add water until about halfway full.
Add leftover, cup-up small cabbage leaves.
Bring to a boil.
Place filled cabbages to liquid and bring it back to a boil.
Reduce heat, and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Serve in a bowl with sauce, topped with (the finish to every Hungarian recipe, as far as I can tell) sour cream. Fresh rye bread is delicious with this dish, and what my family always has with stuffed cabbage. Dip it in the sour-cream tomato sauce…heaven!
Let's get to know chef Donna!After years working in the business world, my love of reading led me to get my MLS, and I currently work part-time in a school library, a job that allows me lots of time to explore my other love - writing romance! I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.
Here's a peek at Donna's book, A Sweeter Spot
Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff's world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.
Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?