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Balanduke (Cabbage Rolls, Lithuanian Style)

Balanduke (Cabbage Rolls, Lithuanian Style)
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Yield: Serves 8 to 10.

The dill and smoked pig's hocks give this crowd-pleasing main dish a distinctive flavor. Be sure to start with a large roasting pan, you'll need it.

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  • 1 large, flat head cabbage
  • 2 pounds hamburger (if meat is lean, add 2 tablespoons vegetable
  • oil)
  • 1 cup short-grain rice, boiled for 5 minutes in 1 quart water, then drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 can (1 pound) sauerkraut, well washed
  • 1 pound smoked Desros (smoked sausage Kielbasa will do)
  • 2 small smoked pig's hocks
  • 1 large can (32 ounces) tomato juice
  • 1 quart water


Core the cabbage and place the head in boiling water, removing the outer leaves one at a time as they become limp. Meanwhile, mix the meat and rice with the egg, onion, and 2 tablespoons of the dried dill weed; add the salt and pepper; then use to stuff the cabbage leaves.
To stuff the leaves, place 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf. Then fold in the uncovered portions of each leaf envelope-fashion: first from the bottom, then from the sides, and finally fold the top section down and over all.

Next, chop the inside of the cabbage and mix it with the sauerkraut; then line a roaster with half of the mixture. Place the cabbage rolls in the roaster with the sausage and hocks, cover with more rolls, and finally add the remaining cabbage and kraut. Sprinkle with remaining dill; pour tomato juice and water over the top and bake, covered, at 375 degrees F for 3 hours. Let sit, covered, for 20 minutes before serving.

Updated Friday, September 21st, 2007

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