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Serbian Sarma of the Užice Region

Updated: Feb 14

  • Sarma is a traditional Serbian dish, and there are several ways to prepare it. This is the original recipe as it is prepared in Serbia region of Užice. You will only need a few ingredients to enjoy this wonderful and delicious meal. Follow recipe.

Ingredients : medium, total time: 3h, 6 servings
  • 1 head of sauerkraut/leaves

  • 500 g minced meat/beef leg

  • 1 little cup of rice/150 ml

  • 1 onion/ finely chopped

  • 200 g smoked bacon /diced 150 g for fill and 50 g for cooking

  • 3 cloves garlic/finely chopped

  • 1/2 tsp of dry spice /Vegeta

  • 1/2 tsp of salt

  • 1/2 tsp hot ground pepper if desired

  • pepper to taste

  • 4 tsp of red ground red pepper/ 2 tsp for filling other 2 tsp for cooking

  • 2 Tablespoon of parsley/ finely chopped

  • 2 bay leafs

  • 1 Tbsp of lard or oil

  1. Clean the head of sauerkraut from the hard part and separate the leaves, and if they are very sour, wash them under a stream of water and arrange them in a colander to strain well before preparation.

  2. Cut the bacon into small cubes and set aside. 150 g bacon goes to fill and other 50 g put in other side. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

  3. Take a wok pan and pour fat or oil and wait for it to heat up on moderate heat.

  4. Add the onion and fry it for a few seconds, then immediately add the diced bacon, stir until the bacon becomes transparent. Immediately after that, add the minced beef, stir well ingredients, cook about 10 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally.

  5. After the elapsed time, add the rice and all the spices, and cook for another 10 minutes. Towards the end, add garlic and parsley, mix everything well. Turn off the heat and leave the filling to cool.

  6. Prepare the cabbage leaves on the work surface, fill them with 2-3 spoons of filling, depending on the size of the leaves. Fold the left and right side, so that the filling does not fall out, and then twist them into rolls. Repeat the process with the other leaves.

  7. When everything is finished, the best thing to do is to arrange the sarmes in the same wok pan and place the rest bacon between them. Add a little water, just enough so that the liquid is half full. If you have left over sauerkraut leaves, feel free to cover the sarma or arrange them between them where there is space.

  8. Add the bay leaf, cover the pan. Cooking takes about 2 - 3 hours. In the meantime, always add a little water every 15 minutes, cooking is on moderate heat. 40 minutes before the end, add ground peppers, mix well with the liquid and finish cooking.

  9. Turn off the heat, serve the sarma while it is hot. Some people like to add sour cream to sarme and some don't, depending on your taste, serve as you like.

Buon appetito!

NOTE: Do not add too much salt to the sarma because there is already smoked bacon in it, add as much pepper as you like, I always add 1 teaspoon of pepper to this amount, because I love spicy. In these sarmas you can combine smoked ribs that are cooked together with the sarmas, this is an original recipe, and you can shape it as you like. I believe that you will enjoy the bites and that you will make them many times. You can keep the Sarma in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, you can also pack them in the fridge and leave them to stand for another 2 months.

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