Only the Tastiest Lil’ Pigeons You’ve Ever Had, a.k.a. Stuffed Cabbage

Imagine: blanched leaves of the finest green cabbage wrapped around a delicious melange of ground pork and beef. Next, bake in the oven, doused in an oh-so-special tomato sauce. The result is pure deliciousness, bordering on scrumtrulecense*. 

Such is the magic that is stuffed cabbage, or, in Polish, golabki**, which in English (again!) means “little pigeons.” YUM 🙂

For the sake of full disclosure, I did not get this recipe from Ania or her mum, but my tiny friend did taste and approve of the resulting dish. ‘Chefski also approved when I made this in the fall, so I’m thinkin’ this recipe’s a keeper. 
* That is, utterly scrumtrulescent
** Pronounced ~ ga-woom-ki… darned blog won’t let me use accent marks today!

Stuffed Cabbage 
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe on foodnetwork  

Tomato Sauce

 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste 

Cabbage Component 
1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil  
1 yellow onion, chopped 
2 garlic cloves, minced  
2 Tablespoons tomato paste 
Splash dry red wine  
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley   
1 pound ground beef  
1 pound ground pork  
1 large egg  
1 1/2 cups steamed white rice
salt and pepper, to taste  
2 large heads green cabbage, about 3 pounds each

    Make the Sauce first: 

    1. Coat a large (3-quart) saucepan with the 2 Tbs olive oil and place over medium heat.
    2. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. 
    3. Add the can of tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. 
    4. Add the vinegar and sugar. Lower heat and let simmer, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. 
    5. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Saute the garlic and onion for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the tomato paste, a splash or red wine, parsley, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce you just created. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.

    On to the filling:
    6. In a large mixing bowl combine your ground meats. Add the egg, cooked rice, and the sauteed onion mix. Toss together with your hands (my favorite part!), and season with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with it either — this is your last chance to season.

    Now the cabbage:
    7.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from your cabbage and set aside for later (when you will use those leaves to line your baking dish).
    8. Gently pull off the rest of the leaves, doing your best to keep them whole. Once the water has come to a boil, blanch the leaves by boiling them a few at a time for about 5 minutes or until pliable. Run the blanched leaves under cool water to prep them for stuffing-mode.

    Now to fill!
    10. Use the large leaves you reserved earlier to line the bottom of a casserole pan or baking dish (I used the Pyrex I use to make lasagna). This will prevent the bottom of your rolls from being burned. Let part of the leaves hang off the sides.
    11. Holding a cabbage leaf stem-end closest to you, put about 1/2 cup of meat in the center of the cabbage, for the sides in, then roll. Place them in rows, seam-side down, in your casserole pan. 
    12. While you’re doing this, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    13. Once you’re done rolling the cabbage, pour the rest of the tomato sauce mix over the cabbage rolls, and fold the hanging leaves (the ones you used to line the pan/dish) over the rolls to keep the moisture in. 
    14. Bake for 1 hour, until it’s time to devour.  

    This entry was published on April 2, 2010 at 1:37 am. It’s filed under dinner and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

    One thought on “Only the Tastiest Lil’ Pigeons You’ve Ever Had, a.k.a. Stuffed Cabbage

    1. haha, i love the title of this. and the full disclosure part. 🙂

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