Soak cabbage leaves in water until needed.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium–high heat. Cook onions, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. Add vegetables and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in parsley and garlic. Increase heat to high and add mince, stock and paprika. Stir for 3 minutes, breaking up mince with a wooden spoon until almost cooked. Stir in finely chopped speck and rice. Remove from heat and season with pepper.
Drain cabbage leaves. Reserve 16 of the largest leaves and cut out thick central stems. Set remaining leaves aside. Place 1 large leaf on a board and place ⅔ cup mince mixture at one end. Roll tightly to enclose filling, tucking in sides of leaf as you go. Place, seam-side down, on a plate. Repeat with remaining large leaves and mince mixture to make 16 cabbage rolls.
Place half the remaining leaves in a large, stainless-steel steamer set in a saucepan and top with cabbage rolls, seam-side down. Add ribs and remaining speck. Dissolve tomato paste in 2 litre hot water and pour gently over rolls. Cover with remaining leaves and weigh down with a large plate. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low–medium and simmer, covered, for 1½ hours for flavours to develop.
Carefully remove the plate and discard loose cabbage leaves. Serve cabbage rolls with smoked pork ribs, speck and pan juices.


  • 1.4 kg cabbage leaves, drained, rinsed
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • ½ red capsicum, grated
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • 1 celery stalk, grated
  • ½cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1.5 kg minced pork
  • 350 g minced beef
  • 2 tsp powdered vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 400 g speck, half finely chopped with rind removed, half roughly chopped with rind
  • ⅓ cup (60 g) long-grain rice
  • 400 g smoked pork ribs, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 90 g (⅓ cup) tomato paste