Hungarian Layered Cabbage Casserole: Rakottkel

Rakottkel or rakott kelkàposzta is a recipe for a Hungarian layered cabbage casserole with rice and meat. It’s filling and warming, perfect for cold winter days.

Peasant cooking is probably the best go-to cuisine for comfort food: the ingredients may be poor but the taste makes up for it. A little background story: one of my best friends is Hungarian and her eyes lit up when she talked to me about her mum’s Hungarian cabbage layered casserole. When I attended a business meeting earlier this year, I started talking to a Hungarian lady and we bonded over Hungarian cooking. She mentioned that, according to tradition, kale is used. I looked at a number of recipes online and different types of cabbages are fine. Why not, you could even try using foraged vegetables as a substitute, especially if there is a vegetable shortage at your local supermarket.

Serves 3


200 gr minced pork

100 gr rice

400 gr Savoy cabbage

1 onion

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

300 ml chicken stock

150 ml sour cream

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper



In a large pan, bring the stock to boiling point then add the cabbage, cut into pieces.

In another pan, cook the onion and the garlic, chopped, for 5 minutes, then add the mince and brown for 10 minutes on a medium heat.

Add salt, pepper and paprika and about 100 ml of stock.

Take the cabbage out of the stock and add the rice, then cook it for 10 minutes without stirring.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and in a casserole add a bit of oil, a layer of cabbage, a layer of rice and one of meat. Repeat ending with the cabbage and a final layer of sour cream. Bake for 30 minutes.

The casserole tastes even better when it’s reheated the following day – make sure you keep it in the fridge. If you don’t want to use pork mince, minced beef is just as good (you may want to throw in a few bits of bacon for extra flavour).