Gołąbki (cabbage rolls)
Stuffed cabbage rolls are known in Polish as gołąbki (literally: little pigeons) and rank among Polonia’s favorite dishes and have numerous devotees among non-Polonians as well. They share the stage with other Polish favorites at festivals, picnics or other food-related events. Cabbage rolls stuffed with a meat & rice mixture are by far the most common.
- 1 cabbage (3 lb)
- 3 cups stock
- 1 lb ground meat of choice
- 6 cups rice
- 1-3 onions
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper for taste
- 2 cups canned tomato soup
- 1/2 cup ketchup (regular or spicy)
- 1/2 cup water
Core 3 lb cabbage, place cored-side-down in pot of hot water to cover and simmer to wilt leaves. Remove outer leaves as they wilt to rack or absorbent paper to drain. When cool enough to handle shave down the thick central vein of drained cabbage leaves or pound it with kitchen mallet to soften.
Prepare filling by combining 1 lb raw ground meat (pork, pork & beef, pork-veal-beef combination, or ground dark-meat turkey) with 4-6 c undercooked rice, 1-3 chopped butter-fried onions and 1 egg. Mix ingredients well and salt & pepper to taste.
Place an oblong scoop of filling at the base end of each leaf. Fold sides of leaf over filling and roll up away from filling.
After the gołąbki have been rolled, line the bottom of a roasting pan with half the leftover undersized, damaged or otherwise unused cabbage leaves.
Place the cabbage rolls snugly in roaster no more than 2 layers.
Drench with sauce or stock (app. 2-3 c) of choice and cover with remaining unneeded cabbage leaves.
Surrounding the gołąbki with extra leaves will prevent them from scorching.
For tomato sauce, combine 2 c canned tomato soup with 1/2 c ketchup (regular or spicy) and 1/2 c water.
Bake covered in preheated 350° oven for 1 hr. Reduce heat to 325° and cook another hr. Switch off heat and leave in oven another 20 min or so for flavors to blend.
Garnish with fresh parsley. Add a teaspoon of liquid spice Maggi for flavor.