German Cabbage Roll also called Krautstrudel in German is a crunchy filo dough rolled up around braised cabbage and bacons bits, served with a simple horseradish-dill sauce!
When you think of Strudel, you probably automatically picture a sweet apple strudel. Am I right? Well in Central Europe they make some great savoury ones too! You can find some pumpkin, spinach, sauerkraut and more strudel types here and there. This German Cabbage Roll is a simple braised cabbage and smoked bacon bits, served with a delicious homemade horseradish-dill sauce.
The original dough to cover Strudel is usually a thin and elastic puffy dough. Although, for this recipe, I’ve used stacked phyllo sheets with a light spray of olive oil in between the sheets. I like the flakiness of the phyllo, plus it contains way less butter than the flaky puff dough. The only thing with phyllo is to make sure you overlap the sheets so the liquid don’t escape from the strudel. Also, when in the oven, better add the strudel on the bottom level, to prevent burning the top.
As for the filling, a simple braised cabbage thinly sliced, an onion and smoked bacon bits with the typical German aromatics of sweet paprika and caraway seeds. The type of cabbage is up to you, although Savoy or White cabbage are the popular choices.
I was surprised by the amount of sweet paprika german cuisine uses in so many of their traditional dishes. As for the caraway seeds, if you don’t know them yet, they look like cumin seeds although they taste nothing like it. They have a certain bitter-sweet taste to it nobody can resist and they are well known to help with digestive problems like heartburn, gas, bloating, etc. Often used in sauerkraut for its counter effect of the naturally gasy meal, the caraway seeds should be an essential to any cabbage meals.
To accompany the KrautStrudel is a great and healthy dip; a horseradish-dill sauce. The original sauce is made with sour cream, which is kind of impossible to find where I live, so I’ve exchanged it for a natural greek yogurt but it could be creme fraiche also. The resulting sauce is just sublime and accompany to perfection this KrautStrudel. The horseradish give a welcomed spicy kick to the whole meal.
So let’s roll this Strudel up!
German Cabbage Roll (Krautstrudel)
- 1/2 White or Savoy cabbage (finely chopped)
- 1 pack frozen filo/phyllo pastry (or pate brise)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 150 g smoked bacon bits
- 150 ml chicken broth
- 30 g butter
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- salt and pepper
The horseradish-dill sauce
- 150 g plain greek yogurt (or creme fraiche, sour cream)
- 2 tbsp horseradish (grated)
- 1/2 lime or lemon
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper
- caraway seeds
- Start by making the horseradish sauce by mixing all the ingredients, leave in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
- Add to a big pan at medium-low heat the onion, butter and salt and soften for 5 minutes.
- Bring up the heat at medium-high, add the bacon bits.
- When the bacon bits are well cooked, add the white cabbage, the broth, the paprika.
- Let the cabbage cook through and the broth reduce until almost gone, for about 10 minutes.
- When the volume is down by half, add the cornstarch (cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp of cold water) and mix until no more liquid or barely any liquid is left.
- Take off the fire, check the seasoning, reserve.
- On a big piece of baking paper, stack the filo sheets one over the other to make a big rectangle the size of the oven metal baking sheet, while having a layer of olive oil (spray or brush) in between each sheets.
- Add the cabbage mixture to the lower center of the sheet and close the sides over the mixture and then roll up the Strudel. Transfer with the help from the baking paper to baking sheet.
- Add an extra layer of olive oil (I use a spray, then it’s just a fine layer) on top of the Krautstrudel, some extra paprika, caraway seeds and salt.
- Cook at 200°C (400F°) for 20 minutes on the lowest level of the oven, or until light brown.