Revisiting one of my first posts for Stuffed Cabbage Leaves, Golabki in Polish. These little bundles of ground beef and rice, wrapped in cabbage and topped in a rich tomato sauce are named after pigeons!
My first exposure to this dish was with Ed’s family. Their part of Pennsylvania is an ethnic and culinary mosaic, as in all of Europe comes to the New World. When my mother and her sister would cook a big meal for our combined families in Arizona, they would have made a big pan of enchiladas.
For my PA in-laws, it would be a roaster full of stuffed cabbage. We could always count on there being cabbage rolls to greet us when we visited. It was the sign of a special occasion.
I fixed this for Ed and one of his colleagues as they prepared to make the initial trip to Poland. We talked with excitement about the travel arrangements, what it might be like, the plans for apartment hunting.
We had pierogi with the stuffed cabbage. I’m embarrassed to say the pierogi were frozen; I had yet to make my first pierogi back then. Things have changed! I make a pretty good pierogi ruskie now.
Novice that I was at the time with Polish cuisine, I still stand by this recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Leaves. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Heritage Cookbook
A Polish favorite, meat and rice filling in cabbage with tomato sauce
- 2/3 c. white rice
- 2 heads green cabbage
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1 c. chopped onion
- 1 t. salt
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 8 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 2 16-oz. cans tomatoes
- 2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- Cook rice according to package directions, cool
- Remove core from cabbage; run hot water into cored area to help in removing outer leaves
- Remove 8 – 12 leaves from each head of cabbage, chop remaining cabbage and place in two baking dishes (or a large dutch oven), sprinkle with salt
- Boil cabbage leaves until limp, about 5 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water
- Cut about 2 inches of the heavy center vein from the leaves
- Cook bacon with 1/2 c. onion till bacon is crisp
- Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bay leaf, simmer, covered, while preparing the rest of the dish, remove bay leaves before adding to dish
- Combine cooked rice, egg, ground beef, the remaining 1/2 c. onion, 1 t. salt, and pepper; mix well
- Place about 1/4 c. rice mixture in center of each cabbage leaf; fold in sides and roll ends over rice
- Place rolls, seam side down, on top of chopped cabbage
- Pour tomato mixture over cabbage rolls
- Cover; bake at 350 degrees from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours
- Freezes well