Finding The Write Words with Darlene Fredette

Finding The Write Words with Darlene Fredette
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Friday, February 3, 2017

Foodie Friday - Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

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

Mix together:
• 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
Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable. 

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?


  1. Thanks for letting me visit today and share this family recipe with you! Happy Foodie Friday!
    : )

  2. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your recipe! I'm not a fan of cabbage unless it's hidden in a coleslaw, lol. But your recipe sounds tasty. I'm a big rice fan :)
    Love the cover of A Sweeter Spot.

    1. Our stuffed pepper recipe is very similar, if you don't like cabbage.
      I love the cover of A Sweeter Spot too! It is the work of the fabulous cover artist, Debbie Taylor.

  3. How fun to have a recipes handed down through the family, makes them even more special.

    1. Thanks, Gini! Making this type of recipe always evokes such memories.

  4. Wow, interesting recipe. Are your familar with Sue Grafton and her a-z mystery books? Your recipe reminds me of a character in her books that 8is always cooking Hungarian dishs to the main characther. The one you describe is very similar. Best of luck with A Sweeter Spot!

  5. I haven't read the Grafton books, although that series is my sister's favorite...I'll have to ask her about it!
    Thanks for stopping by today, Tena!

  6. I was so excited to see Darlene's post. My grandmother was Hungarian and made stuffed cabbage. She taught my WASP mom how to make it, but I never learned. Will definitely try this recipe! It's been 20 years or more since I had it.

  7. I hope this tastes like your family's recipe, Susan! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I'm excited you're going to try the recipe!