This is a very traditional Bulgarian winter dish. Sauerkraut or pickled cabbage is very popular in Bulgaria. It’s made by soaking white cabbage in water and high content of salt. You can buy Sauerkraut in the UK in most supermarkets in the shredded form, or you can buy whole leaves from specialist international food stores. You can also make this dish with fresh shredded white cabbage, but somehow it’s not quite the same.
This dish is also very popular during the long cold Bulgarian winters and a family favourite. The meat just falls apart and the cabbage gives it a distinct winter warming flavour. I hope you enjoy it 😉
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 400g of lean pork chopped into little chunks
- 800g sauerkraut or the equivalent of 1 medium sized cabbage
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped into little chunks
- 1 leeks chopped
- 1 celery stick chopped
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried savory ( oregano or a sprinkle of thyme is ok)
- a sprinkle of dried sage
- black pepper to taste
- 1.5 litres of chicken stock
- optionally some chopped up parsley to sprinkle on top
If you are using shop bought sauerkraut ( like me) you need to wash it in cold water a few times to get rid of some of the salt and the acidity from the added vinegar and preservatives. I soaked mine for 2 hours. Taste it and make sure it’s ok. It needs to have a little acidity and salt, but not too strong. Meanwhile prepare all the rest of the vegetables and the meat and set aside. Drain the sauerkraut and chop it finely.
Heat a tbsp of oil in a casserole dish and fry the pork until it gets a bit of colour. Stir constantly so it doesn’t stick or burn. It takes about 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Next add the paprika and stir well. Add the rest of the vegetables appart from the sauerkraut and cover with a little bit of the stock. Add all the spices, don’t put any salt as the cabbage will season everything nicely. Stir well to get all the bits that have stuck to the pan as they hold a lot of flavour.
Add the cabbage and the remaining stock and stir again. Bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook on very low heat for 2-2.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Take out the bay leaves before serving as they are not very nice to eat. If you want sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley on top when you serve.