Saturday, December 12, 2020

Polish Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls)

While it was not my intent, I think this post counts as an around-the-world meal, of which I haven’t done many of during the pandemic - it's been hard to be inspired.  We enjoy cabbage rolls, a classic Eastern European dish, but are rarely willing to put in the effort to make them, however we were motivated when seeing them made on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives which included the recipe below from Food Network which we doubled and amended a little. 

We couldn’t remember ever making cabbage rolls and really weren’t sure how, so I watched a couple of You Tube videos and they were really helpful with the cabbage cooking and assembly processes.

Cabbage Rolls - Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients for double recipe:


One 29-ounce can peeled tomatoes (we used diced)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Kosher salt

Pinch cayenne pepper, optional


3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for the boiling water

2 large head green cabbage

2 onion, diced

1 stock celery, diced (added by us)

Canola oil, for cooking

2 cup cooked white rice 

2 pound ground beef (we used 3lb)

½ pound ground pork (we used a pound of breakfast sausage)

½ lb of ground veal (we omitted)

4 eggs

1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika (added by us)

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cup vegetable stock

Chopped fresh dill and sour cream, for serving

Note:  These ingredients made 28 rolls using a rounded 1/3 cup of filling in each and we had to make a second batch of sauce since we cooked them in single layers in casserole dishes.


1. For the sauce: Heat up tomatoes in a saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to boil, then remove them from the heat. With an immersion blender, blend in cubed butter one piece at a time until the sauce is smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and a dash of cayenne if you like it a little spicy, but not enough to scare your Mom-Mom.

2. For the cabbage: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Slice off the bottom of the cabbage head and insert the knife around the core to make a square of insertions into the core of the cabbage. (Do not completely core the cabbage.)

3. When the pot is boiling gently, drop the cabbage head in and boil it until outer leaves are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the cabbage head and wait a minute for it to cool, then begin to gently peel the outer leaves away. When the leaves are no longer soft and they become hard to peel, place the cabbage head back into the boiling water for another 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat removing the leaves and then boiling the cabbage until you get down to the core or the leaves become too small. (Larry just removed the outer leaves as they softened and came off the head in the water and laid them on a plate to cool).

4. Trim down the back of the leaf rib to make rolling easier.

4. Saute onions with a dash of canola oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat until onions are translucent. Combine sauteed onions with cooked white rice and allow to cool.

5. Mix the meats together.

6. Combine ground meat, eggs, onion and rice mixture and salt and pepper in a large stainless steel bowl. Mix until well combined, then set aside. (We'll call this the filling from here out.)

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

8. Place 1/4 1/3 cup filling into the bottom of a cabbage leaf. Tuck the sides of the leaf in and roll the leaf up and over and make a small package. 

9. Place the finished roll seam-side down in a 13-by-11 inch baking pan that's at least 2 1/2 inches deep. Continue with the remaining leaves and filling and tuck them tightly into the baking pan. Pour 1 inch vegetable stock into the bottom of the baking pan. Cover the cabbage rolls with a sheet of parchment paper, then cover in foil. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove cabbage rolls from the oven and turn it down to 325 degrees F. Take off (but reserve) foil and parchment paper. Pour off the vegetable stock (no need to save it; it'll taste like cabbage water...yum). Top the drained cabbage leaves with just enough tomato sauce to coat the top of the cabbage and make a small pool under the rolls. Replace the parchment paper and foil and bake the cabbage rolls 45 minutes more.

10. Spoon the sauce over the tops of the rolls to cover, top the pan with foil and bake for 60-75 minutes - depends on size.

11. Plate the finished golabki and top them with a ladle of the sauce, a little fresh dill, and a dollop of sour cream.

My cousins turned us onto the idea of serving them with mashed potatoes with some of the sauce and while I got distracted and forget the plated pic, mine looked very much like this.

The Verdict:

We all thought they tasted very good but we like these kind of meat dishes (meatloaf, meat balls, etc,) to be on the looser side, so next time we’ll add some filler, such as bread crumbs, in place of some of the rice.  And as it turned out, they were not as labor intensive to make as I thought they would be so we won't be so reluctant to make them again.

It was sunny and 60F this day and we decide to take advantage of it by having happy hour on the patio but Bev still bundled up.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


12/11/20 event date


  1. I love these and made the deconstructed version yesterday so good! yours look perfect!

  2. Larry, I actually like cabbage rolls but Laurie doesn't. That's a switch isn't it!? Bev looks like the Queen of the Norse Peoples with her hat and blankets. Be sure and treat her as such! Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  3. Bev looks so cozy, all that's missing is a dog on her lap. Cabbage rolls have been on my list of things to make for years. You've inspired me to give them a try. And thanks for those step x step instructions.

  4. I love cabbage rolls but haven't tried them using Hungarian paprika, dill, or sour cream. YUM! They look tasty.

  5. I love cabbage roles and my grandmother used to make them every year for my birthday...bless her sweet heart. I would like yours as they are not sweet which a lot of people make. As a matter of fact, I cook mine with some sauerkraut added to the roasting pan.


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