Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are one of our families favourite comfort food. Pork and beef mixed with rice are nestled in a cabbage leaf and cooked in the oven or on the stove until tender. This dish is very popular in many Eastern European countries.
Russians (Belarussians in our case) call them golubtsy, which literally means "little pigeons." For Czechs, Poles and Slovaks, it's holubky, while Serbs and Croatians refer to them as sarma. Usually, the sauce is what sets them apart.
You can also cook the vegetarian version of this recipe, omitting meat and beef stock and adding more rice, extra carrots, celery, zucchini and some other root vegetables.
Here is my simple family recipe of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls “Golubtsy”
Makes about 18 Cabbage Rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 whole head cabbage
500g beef mince
200g pork mince
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1 carrot, shredded
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 to 4 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup beef stock
3 tablespoons sour cream
Heat oven to 180C.
Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.
When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.
Chop the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onions and garlic until they are soft, add the carrot and saute them for a couple extra minutes — until they are also soft. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool a bit. Mix in the meat, rice and tomato paste and season again with salt and pepper. Don't overmix or the meat will become tough.
Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf (depending on the size of your leaf). Roll away from you to encase the meat. You will have something that looks like an envelope or a rice paper rolls.
Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Pour in enough juice or sauce and beef stock to cover the rolls. Put several dollops of sour cream on top of the rolls, cover and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked.
Serve hot with pan juices and a drizzle of sour cream, or mix the pan juices with sour cream and ladle it over the cabbage rolls.
Cabbage rolls freeze well before or after cooking.
Simple delicious comfort food recipe for the whole family to enjoy!