At his restaurant, Dalmatino, Ino uses mince made from beef and pork neck as it adds more flavour to the rolls. This Croatian recipe is best made a day ahead, to allow the flavours to develop.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 150 g pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 700 g minced beef
- 300 g minced pork
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 whole nutmeg, grated
- 2 cloves
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 kg (about 2 small) heads of sauerkraut (see Note) or 900 g jar sauerkraut leaves in brine
- 1 tbsp lard or butter, chopped
- 12 (about 200 g) smoked pork ribs (see Note), cut in half widthwise
- chopped parsley, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 1 hour
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and onion, and cook for 3 minutes or until onion has softened. Cool.
Place pancetta and onion in a large bowl with minced beef and pork, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, zest and egg. Season with salt and pepper. Knead until combined. Set aside.
Separate 24 leaves from sauerkraut; halve any large leaves. Using scissors, cut a V-shape into each outer leaf to remove tough centre rib.
Working in batches, place leaves flat on a work surface. Place 2 tbsp filling at one end of leaf, fold in sides and roll up tightly.
Scatter base of a large saucepan with lard, then cover with any remaining cabbage leaves, reserving 4 leaves. Layer stuffed cabbage rolls on top, placing pork ribs between layers. Place reserved 4 leaves on top, then place an upturned plate over the cabbage rolls to prevent rolls unravelling during cooking.
Pour in enough water to cover rolls. Place over high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 3 hours or until rolls are tender.
Stand in cooking liquid for 1 hour, then transfer rolls to a plate. Serve scattered with chopped parsley.
Heads of sauerkraut are sold cryovacked in selected delis and Eastern European food shops.
Smoked pork ribs are from selected delis. Ask your butcher to cut them in half for you.
Drink 2010 Matosevic Malvazija Istarska 'Alba’, Istria, Croatia
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg93.
Photography by Derek Swalwell