I learned how to make stuffed cabbages from my mother-in-law early on in my marriage. I know that stuffed cabbages is golabki in the Polish term but upon further googling, I learned that it’s also called golubtsy in Russia, holubtsi in Ukraine, and töltött káposzta in Hungary. I have made stuffed cabbages a lot of time albeit too far in between because as easy at it is, the process is really tedious. For me anyway. I can’t say for certain that I’ve made this dish following an authentic recipe. I’ve made it using my mother-in-law’s instructions, and knowing the basic essentials for the filling which are ground meat, rice, and chopped onions, plus the cabbage and tomato based sauce. Depending on how experimental you are in the kitchen, you can probably think of other things to add to the filling.
This golabki recipe has chopped mushrooms in it. I also simmered the stuffed cabbages in the stove instead of using the crock-pot.
|Stuffed Cabbages (Golabki)|
- 1 large cabbage
- 2-3 pounds of ground beef
- 3 button mushrooms, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3/4 cup of long grain rice
- 2 cups of spaghetti sauce(or tomato sauce)
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tbsp of sugar
- sprinkle of salt and pepper
- sprinkle of Italian seasoning
- clean toothpicks
- water for boiling
- Fill a pot with water. Don’t fill it all the way to the top. Make sure it doesn’t overflow when you submerge the head of cabbage. That’s your guide. Let the water boil.
- Carefully run a knife in the core section of the large cabbage. Take the core out.
- Once the water has boiled, carefully submerge the cabbage into the water, half of the core part down, then carefully move the top portion down after a few minutes. Continue boiling the water but turn the heat down in medium, then low once the cabbage head is getting softer.
- Using a tong, again, carefully peel/pick off the cabbage leaves. This is fairly easy to do. Place the leaves in a platter or strainer. I place 4 in the cutting board temporarily to show you how the leaves look like. Continue to peel/pick off more as you go along.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and Italian seasonings. Mix all of that together to combine. Set aside.
- In a cutting board, lay a piece of cabbage leaf, vine side down. If you have a huge leaf, cut that in half. Cut off the hard part too. Place a spoonful of the filling in the leaf, fold, roll and tuck the sides as you roll the filled cabbage. Secure in the end with a clean toothpick. Place the stuffed cabbage in a platter. Repeat the process.
- There will be scraps of cabbage here and there. Save them, along with the remaining cabbage head. Use that for something else next time, like sauteed cabbage and bacon as a dish for another night’s
- In another bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce, water, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper. Stir all that together.
- Put some of that sauce at the bottom of a pan, or pot, or crock pot. Carefully place the stuffed cabbages on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Shake the pan a bit, then cover. Let that simmer in low heat for 2-3 hours.
- DO NOT STIR. Just gently shake the pan a few times while simmering. Because the rice soaks up the water, the sauce might dry out. Just pour a little bit of water into the pan then continue to simmer.
- Gently transfer the stuffed cabbages into a serving platter or casserole dish once cooked and ready to serve. Don’t forget to discard the toothpicks.
If you have no toothpicks, just roll them up really tight and secured. Be very careful when putting the stuffed cabbages into the pan so the filling won’t scatter all over the pan while simmering.
This is one of those dishes that’s perfect for family dinners. Prepare them in the morning or the night before(store the stuffed cabbages in the fridge), then simmer in a pot or crock-pot while swimming in the backyard or enjoying the A/C inside the house with a movie to watch with the whole family. Serve as is or with garlic bread.