Dive into my family's beloved recipe for traditional Polish stuffed cabbage rolls. Bursting with the flavours of pork and rice, these cabbage rolls are a delight. Choose between Sweetheart, Savoy or White Cabbage to customize the dish to your liking. Serve with mushroom or tomato sauce, the recipe covers stove top and oven method of cooking.
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History of Gołąbki (Golumpki - Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
The name "gołąbki" in Polish literally translates to "little pigeons", but these delicious rolls aren't about birds. Instead, they're a hearty dish made by wrapping a savoury filling in cabbage leaves, making them one of the most cherished Polish dishes. In different regions and among various communities, Gołąbki are also referred to as Galumpki or Golumpki.
Stuffed cabbage rolls have versions across many cultures. In Poland, Gołąbki became popular in the Middle Ages when cabbage became a staple food crop. It's believed that this Golabki recipe might have been influenced by dishes from the Balkans or even the Byzantine Empire.
Gołąbki is not just another dish; it's a cornerstone of Poland's culinary heritage. It's frequently served during special occasions, holidays, and family gatherings. The rich flavour, combined with the effort put into its preparation, makes it a cherished comfort food.
Varieties of Gołąbki (Golumpki):
Traditional Pork and Rice Gołąbki - This is the most common type found in Poland. If you're looking for an authentic Gołąbki recipe, this mixture of minced pork and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves and baked in a tomato-based sauce is it.
Beef Gołąbki - For those exploring various Golumpki recipes, some regions or families in Poland opt for beef or a mix of beef and pork. The overall essence remains similar, but beef offers a deeper flavour profile.
Vegetarian Gołąbki - With evolving dietary choices, many Poles have adapted the traditional Golabki recipe for vegetarians. Think mushrooms, lentils, grains like buckwheat, and a medley of vegetables, making it a versatile dish for all.
Golabki with Different Sauces
While the tomato sauce is a classic choice for these Polish stuffed cabbage rolls, some variations use a mushroom or cream-based sauce. In some regions, the rolls are even cooked in clear broth or soup, offering multiple ways to enjoy this dish.
Other Cabbage Varieties
Though white cabbage is traditional, some Golabki recipes use Napa or Savoy cabbage, introducing a different texture and flavour to the dish.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: Up to 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of servings: About 12 pieces
Ingredients for Polish Golabki:
1.1 lbs (500 g) minced pork shoulder
4 slices of bacon
2 heads of Sweetheart or 1 Savoy or White Cabbage
1.5 cups (375 ml) of vegetable or poultry broth
3 medium onion, finely diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
0.44 lbs (200g) long grain rice (this yields about 1.3 lbs or 600g when cooked; pearl barley is a good substitute as well)
2 tsp (12g) salt
1 tsp black pepper
Recipe for Polish Cabbage Rolls:
1. Prepare the filling: Cook the rice, then drain and mix with the minced meat. In a pan, sauté the onions in oil until they turn golden. Add to the meat and rice mixture. Incorporate salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Combine thoroughly.
2. Preparing the cabbage:
For Sweetheart or Savoy cabbage: Simply blanch the leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes. Trim the thick nerve in the middle of each leaf.
For White Cabbage: Prepare large pot, pour water up to 1/3 of its height and boil it. Removing the hardest part of the stem with a knife. Place the cabbage in boiling water, after two minutes, turn the leaves upside down and wait for another 2-3 minutes before removing. You can prepare the rolls while waiting for the cabbage.
3. Filling: Make a ball of meat & rice stuffing in your hands and transfer it to a leaf. Place it at the bottom part of the leaf. Fold the leaf sides toward the centre. Roll the cabbage roll tightly. Roll all cabbage rolls until you run out of stuffing.
Stove top method: In the same pot, lay down bacon slices, and overlay with small cabbage leaves. Place the rolls atop, pour in the broth, cover, and simmer for about 1.5 hours.
Oven-baked method: In a heat-resistant dish, line with bacon slices and small leftover cabbage leaves. Place the rolls closely together. Cover and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C (356°F) for 50 minutes. Uncover, pour over a sauce of your choice (tomato or mushroom), and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
5. Serving: Serve the cabbage rolls immediately after cooking. Sprinkle with freshly chopped dill or parsley, serve with you favourite sauce. Smacznego!
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