Golumpki

Golumpki

Makes 3 to 4 dozen.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe by Sue Bajek.

This polish food has many variations. The recipe I use here belonged to the late aunt of a fan of my web site. He wanted the recipe preserved because eating these golumpki was among his favorite childhood memories. I can see why. They’re delicious.

Ingredients:

2 to 3 heads of cabbage, depending on size
For the Filling:
1 pound (450g) ground pork
2 pounds (900g) ground beef (chuck or round)
2½ cups (14 oz./400g) cooked rice (1 cup (6½ oz./185g) dry rice cooked in 2 cups (475ml) water yields more than enough)
¼ pound (115g) lightly browned bacon, drained of fat (I started with 12 oz. (340g) raw)
2 medium onions, diced and sautéed until tender
2 large eggs
Salt to taste
Generous gratings of fresh pepper
Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Optional: 3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
For the Sauce:
½ cup (75g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup (120ml) lemon juice
2 28-ounce (800g) cans crushed tomatoes (or whole, crushing the tomatoes with your hands)

Directions:

Fill a large pot about half full with water. Bring to a boil. With a sharp knife, carve out the core of the cabbage head. Carefully lower the whole cabbage into the boiling water. Return the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 15 to 20 minutes.

While the cabbage is cooking, combine all the filling ingredients. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate until needed.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a skillet or medium pan. Heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the tomatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Carefully remove the cabbage from the pot (keep the water) and allow the cabbage to cool enough to be safe to handle. Remove the outer leaves and set aside. Remove the larger leaves for stuffing. Cover if not used immediately. Retain any remaining cabbage. If the inner portion of the cabbage head is uncooked, return it to the pot and cook until tender. (1 minute in the microwave oven worked well for me.)

Carefully shave off most of the leaf rib without cutting all the way through. Using a large spoon, place some of the meat mixture on one cabbage leaf, close to the stem edge. Roll up the filling in the leaf, tucking in the sides, encasing the meat. It should look like a short thick egg roll. Continue, using all the filling, cooking more cabbage as needed for additional leaves.

Heat the oven to 325°F.

Using some of the remaining cabbage leaves, cover the bottom of a large baking dish or enameled cast iron pot (Dutch oven). Arrange a layer of cabbage rolls on the leaves. Cover with some cabbage leaves and sauce. Add a second layer of cabbage rolls. Cover the top with any remaining leaves and then drape with the remaining sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Note: If the baking dish is narrow, this step can be done in three layers.

Cover the casserole dish and bake 2 hours. Remove the cover and bake an additional ½ hour.

Serve warm, with some of the extra cabbage leaves from the casserole dish on the side. Golumpki can also be served with potato pancakes on the side.