Polish stuffed cabbage rolls are the epitome of comfort food and considered a national dish.
In this recipe, ground pork and beef are mixed with rice and nestled in a cabbage leaf and cooked in the oven. But recipes exist where barley replaces the rice and the rolls are cooked on the stovetop until tender.
Poles call stuffed cabbage rolls (gaw-WOHMP-kee), which literally means "little pigeons." Every Eastern European cuisine has its version filled with ground meats and some type of grain but they also can be vegetarian.
If this recipe doesn't appeal to you, here are 22 more stuffed cabbage recipes to choose from.
- 1 whole head cabbage, about 4 pounds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup beef stock
- Sour cream for garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.
- When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.
- Chop the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a casserole dish or Dutch oven.
- Sauté the chopped onion in butter in a large frying pan until tender, and let it cool.
- Mix cooled onions with beef, pork, rice, garlic, salt and black pepper until well combined. Don't overmix or the meat will become tough.
- Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Roll away from you to encase the meat and make a neat little roll.
- Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish or Dutch oven, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Pour beef stock over rolls, cover and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked.
- Serve with pan juices and a drizzle of sour cream, or mix the pan juices with sour cream and ladle it over the cabbage rolls.
- Cabbage rolls freeze well before or after cooking and can be made in a slow cooker (see your manufacturer's instructions).
Note: Since they can be eaten hot or at room temperature, mini cabbage rolls make great appetizers. Just spear them with a frilled toothpick and you're good to go!