a bit of eastern europe
Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, as promised, I made Golabki. Essentially, stuffed cabbage. Although I don’t recall ever having stuffed cabbage often when I was a kid, I did have some this past summer at a Polish restaurant. Unfortunately, I don’t really remember how it tasted (couldn’t have been too great…). That place ended up being a sorry excuse for a restaurant.
Admittedly, I found the stuffing of the cabbage a little daunting at first, and wasn’t sure just how it would turn out. However, despite my initial fear, things turned out really well. By far, one of my favorite recipes. The preparation is a little involved, but once you have the leaves stuffed, you can pretty much let them go for about an hour. Plus, I finally put my homemade chicken stock to good use! They come out so tender, so flavorful, and are ridiculously satisfying.
I managed to eat three of these, but I had no side accompaniment. What does one serve with stuffed cabbage? I’m not sure. It’s really rather an all-in-one dish. If anyone out there knows the answer to this, let me know. Inspiration for this recipe was found here.
8 or 9 leaves of 1 small cabbage
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup white rice
1 egg beaten
1-2 TBSP tomato paste
1 cup chicken or beef stock
2 TBSP butter
1 can diced tomatoes
2 TBSP flour
salt & pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
As always, chop, mince, peel, etc. everything first. Get everything organized. It helps, I promise.
Fill a large stock pot with water and set it over high heat. Place the cabbage leaves in the pot once the water beings to boil, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Take the leaves out using a slotted spoon, and place in a colander. DO NOT DISCARD ALL OF THE WATER. It’s full of cabbagey goodness and you WANT THAT FLAVOR. Reserve at least half of it.
If you’re using white rice, you can skip cooking it. If, however, you are using brown rice, you may want to at least parboil it. Now would be a good time for that while your cabbage cooks.
Put some oil in a pan and sautee your onions until they’re translucent. You can cook them until they’re caramelized if you want, also.
Beat your egg, mix it in with the ground beef. Put your onions and rice in the mix as well, along with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
At this point, you’ve drained and cooled your cabbage leaves. So, lay a leaf out. spoon about 2-3 TBSP of the mix onto the flimsy end of the leaf. NOT the stiffer end that was connected to the core. Roll the leaf, tucking in the sides as you go along. Place the roll seam side down on a plate or baking sheet — something flat. Do this with the rest of your leaves.
Place your leaves, seam side down, in that stock pot with the cabbage water. Add 1 cup of chicken or beef stock at this point, too. Let this simmer, uncovered, for about 45-60 minutes. You can skim the fat off the top every once and a while.
>>As for the sauce….you’re going to be making a roux so it has a nice thick base. If you don’t want your sauce to be thick, then skip out on this butter and flour step.
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and WHISK WHISK WHISK WHISK. DO NOT STOP WHISKING. You want it to reach a peanutty brown color. If you’ve done this before or are just daring, you can make a darker roux. Add the canned tomatoes, some water if you think it’s too dry, the garlic, the tomato paste, and some pepper. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
And there you have it. Some nice stuffed cabbage. So tender….so melt in your mouth….sooo good. And I’m told they’re even better the next day.