Maine dish · Photography

Nests of meat stuffed wine vines rolls for Christmas

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There is no Christmas dinner without the traditional meat stuffed cabbage rolls. The traditional recipe is with sour cabbage, but my mom made us a light version of this recipe with wine vines. Sour cabbage is quite heavy to digest despite being very healthy.

Doing this recipe for so many years, my mom (like most moms and grandmothers) doesn’t use measures any more. Everything is a little bit of this, a hand full of that, some of this, etc. For a newbie in the kitchen, like me, this kind of recipe is doomed to go bad from the beginning, so I managed to make so measures for myself.


  • Wine vines
  • 500g minced pork
  • 500g minced beef
  • 4 tablespoons rice
  • 3 tablespoons lard (butter)
  • 2 chopped onions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thyme
  • 300ml tomato sauce or 1 kg tomatoes
  • 1 liter vegetable broth


To have wine vines in the winter, you put them with salt in a big jar in the fall. Before making your rolls, you take them out and leave them in cold water to get out the salt.

In a large pot, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of lard until are slightly brown. Add meat, rice, salt and pepper. Let it cook for 10 minutes.

To make a roll, place a wine vine flat and on it place a teaspoon of meat mixture. Turn the right and left edges over toward the center and then starting with the end begin to roll. Tuck in the loose side edges.

In a clay pot with lard, place the rolls in layers and add thyme and some tomato sauce on each layer. Last layer will be of tomato sauce. Add vegetable broth on top to cover the rolls. Put the pot covered in the oven for 2 hours and then uncovered it and leave it for another 1 hour.

Serve them with sour cream and polenta. Don’t forget a great red wine to go with them.

Because the wine vines are small, you will get very small rolls and it will take a lot of time. So be patience. In the end you will get some jewels to impress your guests.




42 thoughts on “Nests of meat stuffed wine vines rolls for Christmas

  1. My husband’s Mother made really great Halupkies but she never wrote down the measurements either. Mine never tasted as good as hers when I tried to replicate her recipe. When I couldn’t do it I made a different version and make that. Thankfully she really liked my version, but thought they were a lot more work and expense so she didn’t adopt my version. 🙂

  2. Cabbage rolls are Christmas/Holiday dinner to me as well. But we do a tomato sauce – a different version of the same thing. As usual, beautiful photography – I’m aspiring! Merry Christmas!

  3. Despite my love of Romanian food I’ve never liked sarmale with vază murată but love them with vine leaves. Oddly enough, as I’m not vegetarian, I often prefer them with mushrooms in place of meat. One of my favourite Romanian foods is ardei umpluți, and of course your mixture would do very well for these, though again mushrooms make a good alternative to beef and pork. I make them with both types of filling here in the UK but they cannot compare with those made with freshly picked peppers in Bucovina!

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