Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Gołąbki)

I grew up in a Polish family and one dish my mom always made was gołąbki (pronounced like goWUMPkee), or stuffed cabbages. They are a huge comfort food for me, but they are both labor and time intensive. (At least 2-3 hours to prepare and cook) My mom would surprisingly make them for weekday dinners! However, I save them for the weekend and make a big batch. (Plus, they reheat great as leftovers)

My mom made them with minced meat and rice filling and a tomato sauce on top, but there are other variations. For example, for Wigilia (Polish Christmas Eve), my aunt makes a vegetarian variation with mushroom and rice filling. However, I much prefer the tomato and meat version!

See the recipe below. My recipe is mostly from my mother, but I’ve also taken inspiration from other Polish recipes I’ve found. You can also cook these in a deep pan if you want but I find it comes out best in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef & pork mix (like meatball mix or just ground beef)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (from 1 cup dry rice)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Boil the cabbage in a large pot of water until it is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool.
  3. In a frying pan, heat up a small drizzle of oil or a small pat of butter. Fry the ground meat and onion until browned.
  4. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice, ground meat, onion, egg and salt and pepper. Feel free to add more seasoning if you want to taste.
  5. After the cabbage has cooled, peel off the cabbage leaves.
  6. Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with the outermost leaves.
  7. Put a small amount of meat and rice mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold two opposite sides toward the center and roll up from the bottom to create a small cabbage roll.
  8. Put each cabbage roll into the baking dish, creating tight rows of side-by-side rolls.
  9. Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls. You want the liquid to fill about halfway up the dish. Add some vegetable broth or water if you need more liquid
  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  11. Serve each roll with a bit of tomato sauce on top.
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