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Stuffed Cabbage (Gołąbki)

Stuffed Cabbage (Gołąbki)

I should call this recipe “Bumpkeys.” That’s what my not-Polish husband called them when our kids were little and couldn’t say Gołąbki (Gi-wump-key, the dish’s name in Polish. Honestly, he still calls them Bumpkeys, which I find charming.

This simple recipe, a crowd-pleaser, goes a long way and is perfect for parties and holiday buffets.

The Basics:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 30 ounces tomato sauce (I prefer Delmonte)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cooled or leftover rice, brown or white
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste

Cut out as much of the core of the cabbage as feasible. For me, that is usually about one inch deep. Do not cut up the cabbage. You need big pieces.

Put the cabbage in a pot with cold water. Cover and bring it to a boil. Cook it at a lively simmer. In about 15 minutes the cabbage will be slightly tender when pierced with a fork. Carefully (avoid the steam) dump the cabbage into a colander.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix together the beef, rice, egg and onion. Add salt and pepper.

Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with some of the tomato sauce. (My lasagna pan is big enough for the entire recipe.)

Wrap a handful (I use the serving spoon from my flatware) of meat into a cabbage leaf. Place seam side down in the pan. If the cabbage leaves get too small, piece them together.

Cover the bumpkeys with the rest of the sauce.

Cover. Cook for 1 hr 45 minutes.

Next Day:

Even better the next day. Remove any visible fat and replace foil if it is burnt on the underside. Reheat until piping hot at 350 degrees (preheat oven) for about 30-40 minutes. If you aren’t serving the entire amount, only reheat what you will be using at that meal. Bumpkees can be reheated on top of the stove in a covered pan or in the microwave.

I was given this recipe by the mother of my friend Maryann. Maryann’s mom told me that the dish also can be cooked on top of the stove and prepared with dry onion soup mix instead of spices or onions. She recommended serving the stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. I‘m not a fan of frozen vegetables, but frozen peas and carrots are just right with this dish.

And don’t forget the prepared horseradish and a loaf of rye bread (soft butter, please) on the side. Pickles are a nice touch too.

For a delicious and more elegant version of this dish, check out Food Sharing Network contributor Rose Ellen Lorber-Termaat ‘s Grandma Pearl’s Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage.

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