Krautwickel
Beef, Pork, Stews, Swabian

Cabbage Rolls (‘Krautwickel’)

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German cabbage rolls are traditional comfort food. In the Northern parts of Germany, they are often called Kohlrouladen. But in the Southern accent, it’s really uncommon to use the word ‘Kohl’ for cabbage. For me, cabbage will always be called ‘Kraut’ thus the Southern name of this dish “Krautwickel”.

It’s very simple to prepare cabbage rolls. You don’t even need to use toothpicks or kitchen twine for my recipe. If you blanch the cabbage properly before wrapping and then squeeze it together tightly around the filling it will hold its shape just fine.

Filling the cabbage roll

The filling is made of minced meat that I mix with mushrooms and a soaked bread roll. It’s always important to add a few filler ingredients to meat stuffings so they will be tender and juicy instead of dry and tough.

I like to add a few drops of Maggi seasoning sauce to my filling. However, it’s up to you if you like to use it or not. This is more of an old school recipe so that I think a little Maggi is appropriate. In contemporary German cuisine, the Maggi seasoning sauce has lost a lot of its former popularity but I think it still adds a nice depth of flavor to a lot of dishes.

How to braise your cabbage rolls

You should sear the cabbage rolls before braising because a light sear will give you a better flavor. The sauce is also going to profit from the fond at the bottom of the pan after searing. I like to braise my cabbage rolls in the oven. That way they cook very evenly and form a nice crust on top.

Searing the cabbage rolls
Braised cabbage rolls out of the oven

Once the cabbage rolls come out of the oven, the only thing left to do is to cook the sauce. You could serve them directly in the braising liquid. However, I like to thicken it with a roux to make it thicker. Just make sure to let the sauce simmer for at least 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. You can keep the cabbage rolls hot in the oven. The residual heat will be enough to keep them warm.

These cabbage rolls are usually served with some potatoes or noodles on the side. They can easily be reheated in the sauce in case you have any leftovers.

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