Gołąbki (go-vam-bki) or to make it more understandable “cabbage rolls” are one of the traditional Polish dishes. They are easy to make, though quite time consuming, but they are well worth it.
So let’s start with your ingredients list:
|– 800g of mince meat||– 4 tsp of tomato paste|
|– 600g of rice||– 4 tsp of flour|
|– 1 x large onion||– 2 tsp of butter|
|– Lots of large cabbages 🙂||– 1 cup of sour cream|
|– Salt||– 1 x onion|
|– Pepper||– 2 cups of bullion (stock)|
|– Paprika||– Salt|
|– Cooking oil||– Pepper|
Let’s start with the tomato sauce as this is the easy part.
Chop your onion. Brown it in the butter until transparent, add bullion and tomato paste. Cook on low heat. Whisk in the cream and flour to make it thicker. To finish add salt, sugar and pepper to taste.
Now that we have the sauce out of the way, let’s start on gołąbki itself.
Step 1 – Getting the cabbage ready
This is the tricky part. In Poland we have huge, football like cabbages, but in the UK all I can find are small young ones, with little leaves. So depending on how many gołąbki you want to make, you may need to get quite a few of them. We bought 8 ;-). As they are young and quite soft, it should be easy to remove the outer leaves, be very careful though not to damage them.
If there is a problem with separating the leaves an alternative method is as follows…
Take a huge cooking pot and boil some water in it. Remove the core from your cabbage. Take the entire cabbage and place it into the pot. This should help with leaf separation, they will just start detaching themselves one by one. As the leaf separates from the cabbage remove them and put aside for now. Work the cabbage until all bigger leaves are off. Do not throw any leaves, even the smallest one can be put to use later on.
Once you have separated all your cabbages, you should be left with a pile of nicely separated leaves. Now place them all back into your huge pot of boiling water and cook briefly (2-3 minutes). This part is important; it will soften the cabbage leaves and help later on with the rolling. Once cooked remove from the water and allow to drain. Now we have to remove the thick part of the main vain from every leaf. At this stage our cabbage is now ready for rolling.
Step 2 – Filling
Boil the rice until just tender, strain and put aside. Brown finely chopped onions and add your mince meat and fry till browned. Once all three ingredients are cooked mixed them together and add the spices – salt, pepper, paprika or anything else you might desire.
Step 3 – Creating your Gołąbki
Take one cabbage leaf and place a few spoons of filling into the middle. Roll sides of cabbage to make a tight parcel – please see pictures below; hopefully they will help with this task.
Step 4 – Filling The Cooking Pot
Our gołąbki will cook for a few hours, but we cannot just drop them into an empty pot. We have to make it ready.
Take a big cooking pot (a stock pot is ideal) and place some of damaged, too small or just spare leaves on the bottom. Make sure that the bottom of the pot is nicely covered with cabbage leaves; this will protect our gołąbki from burning later on. Place your ready rolled gołąbki on the cabbage bed. Pack them tight, one by one, and work your way up.
Once the whole pot is filled or you run out of filling cover the top of the gołąbki in your pot with yet another layer of spare cabbage leaves.
Add about 1 litre of salted water or stock, so they can cook in something. Cook for about 2 hours. When tender discard the leaves from the top and serve.
They taste best hot smothered in the sauce we made earlier!
They can be served on their own or with a tomato sauce or with potatoes. They also taste good the next day, just warm them up in a frying pan with a little stock or the sauce on a gentle heat till hot throughout.
So what do you think of them?