Holiday`s recipe: Stuffed sour cabbage leaves

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It’s holiday season again! The weather gets a bit colder, the clothes a bit warmer and the food more tempting. Most Christmas celebrations usually happen around the table, when family and close friends gather together. That is why the CAI Chefs are sharing the secret of one of the most popular traditional Bulgarian dishes of the season.


Sour cabbage – 1 kg

Cabbage brine – 250 g

Pork belly – 250 g

Pork shoulder – 250 g

Bulgarian rice – 80 g

Leek – 200 g

Onions – 100 g

Pork fat – 200 g

salt, paprika, black pepper, savory, cumin, bay leaf


  • Cut the meat into very small pieces 5 by 5 millimeters, put it in a bowl and season with salt, black, paprika, savory and cumin.
  • Heat the pork fat in a saucepan and put the onion and leeks. Then add the rice and cook until it becomes transparent. Add 100 ml water and leave on low heat until the rice absorbs the water. Leave the mixture to cool and add it to the meat.
  • Spread some pork fat to the bottom of a clay pot and put one leaf of sour cabbage. Then start rolling the stuffed leaves and arrange them as tightly as possible. After each line spread pork fat, sprinkle paprika and add a bay leaf. Finally, cover with two leaves of cabbage, add cabbage brine and broth (50:50), put the lid on and bake for the first 30 minutes at 200 degrees, after the liquid boils set to 150 and bake for another 2 and a half hours.


  • Place the stuffed cabbage leaves in the center of the plate.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and leek
  • Serve with fresh homemade white bread             


  • Don’t use more that 50 % of the cabbage brine into the cooking liquid because the dish will become too salty!               
  • Pair the Stuffed sour cabbage leaves with a glass of Bulgarian red wine J                                                             

We wish you bon appetite and Happy Holidays!