I love gołąbki (pronounced ga-womp-kee) and I'm yet to meet anyone who doesn't enjoy them in either this meaty version or the equally delicious vegetarian version where the meat is substituted for mushrooms and vegetable stock is used instead of beef. Every Polish person will have been fed these at some time and no doubt have their own way of making, seasoning and serving. This recipe is how I like to make them.
There is nothing about this recipe that is particularly difficult, however it can be a little time consuming. The effort is definitely worthwhile, especially if you freeze the left overs as individual portions for a tasty homemade ready-meal on a busy weekday. This recipe is for a large quantity of gołąbki, I got about 25 or so little parcels in the end. If I end up having lots of left over cabbage I usually put it in the fridge and use it the following morning to make bubble and squeak topped with a poached egg.
800g minced meat (I used a mixture of beef and pork) or the equivalent of cooked, chopped mushrooms
400g cooked long grain rice
salt and pepper
pinch of ground allspice
500ml beef stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 onions finely diced
- Cook the rice and set to one side.
- Core the cabbage then place in a large saucepan. Cover with hot water from the kettle and boil until the leaves are soft and can be separated. Put the separated leaves in a colander and rinse with cold water so that they can be handled.
- Using a paring knife remove the thick part of the stem on each leaf. This is the most tedious part of making gołąbki but has to be done otherwise they're difficult to roll.
- Chop up the smaller leaves from the cabbage that are too small to be stuffed, and place in the bottom of your ovenproof dish ready for the gołąbki to sit on top.
- Next heat up a frying pan, add the butter and cook the diced onion until it is golden brown.
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan, 200C.
- Put the mince meat into a large bowl, add the cooked and cooled rice, the browned onion, salt, pepper and allspice and mix together until everything is thoroughly combined. Be generous with the salt and pepper.
- Place one of the cabbage leaves on a board with the stem facing away from you, put in a dessert spoon of the meat and rice mixture then wrap the leaf firmly around the meat. Place in the bottom of the ovenproof dish on top of the chopped cabbage.
- Continue this process until all the meat mixture and cabbage leaves have been used. Pack the gołąbki tightly in the dish to help prevent them unwrapping during the cooking process.
- Once you have made all your gołąbki mix together the stock and chopped tomatoes and pour on top, ensuring even coverage.
- Cover the gołąbki with foil and/or the lid to the dish then cook in the oven for around an hour until the meat is cooked.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and some of the cooking juices. If you're feeling fancy add a dollop of soured cream.