Gołąbki

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Meats | Golabki Image

(Polish, stuffed cabbage rolls)

Golabki (pronounced ga-WUMP-kee) means "little pigeons" in Polish and is a reference to their size and shape. These stuffed cabbage rolls simmered in a tomato sauce are popular throughout Eastern Europe. In Russia, where they are known as golubtsy. In Ukraine they are called holubtsi. Hungarians refer to them as töltött káposzta.

Image Creative Commons by shekay

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Green cabbage, core removed -- 1 head
  • Oil or butter -- 2 tablespoons
  • Onion, minced -- 1
  • Ground beef -- 1 pound
  • Ground pork -- 1 pound
  • Ground veal -- 1 pound
  • Rice -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Egg, beaten -- 2
  • Thyme -- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Tomato sauce -- 2 cups
  • Stock or water -- 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste

Method

  1. Remove large, whole leaves carefully from the outside of the head of cabbage. You will need 10-12 for this recipe. Save the remainder of the cabbage heat for another recipe.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the cabbage leaves to the boiling water and blanch them for 3-5 minutes, or until they are wilted. Remove the leaves to a colander and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process. Trim or lightly pound the large vein on the back of each leaf to make it flush with the surface of the leaf.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat the oil or butter in a skillet over medium flame and sauté the onion until translucent but not browned. Remove to a large bowl and cool. Add the ground meats, rice, egg, thyme, salt and pepper to the sautéed onions and mix well.
  4. Lay a cabbage leaf out on a work surface, vein-side down, and put about 1/4 cup of meat filling in the middle. Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the filling, then fold each side in. Roll the leaf up loosely over the filling like an eggroll. Do not roll up the cabbage rolls too tightly, ase the rice will expand as it cooks. Set aside and complete with rest of leaves until the filling is used up.
  5. Mix the tomato sauce, stock or water, salt and pepper together. Place about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish. Place all of the cabbage rolls, seam-side-down, tightly into the dish. Pour remaining sauce over the rolls.
  6. Cover, place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add water or stock to the dish as needed to keep it from drying out (the rice will soak up liquid as it cooks).
  7. Serve hot from the dish, topped with a little sour cream.

Variations

  • Jewish Holishkes: eliminate the pork and use all beef or a mixture of beef and veal. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice to the tomato sauce give it a sweet-sour flavor.
  • You do not have to use all three types of meat, but do try to use a mixture of beef and pork. Season the meat mixture as you like. A little horseradish makes a nice addition.
  • Sometimes one or two grated carrots are added to the meat filling.
  • The rice can be half-cooked first if you like.
  • Substitute chopped tomatoes for the tomato sauce if you like. You might need a little more water.
  • Add a little dill to the meat filling or the tomato sauce.
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