In this recipe for Polish stuffed cabbage rolls, ground pork and beef are mixed with rice, 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 gołąbki (gaw-WOHMP-kee), which literally means "little pigeons" and are the epitome of comfort food and considered a national dish. 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 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 garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup beef stock
- Garnish: sour cream (optional)
Prepare the Cabbage
- 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 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 lidded casserole dish or Dutch oven.
Make the Filling
- Sauté the chopped onion in butter in a large skillet 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. Flip the bottom of the leaf and you will have something that looks like an envelope. Roll away from you to encase the meat and make a neat little roll.
Cook and Serve the Stuffed Cabbage
- Heat oven to 350 F. 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 heated oven. Bake for 1 hour or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked.
- Serve with pan juices and an optional 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!