Thursday, March 15, 2012

recipe | golabki (polish stuffed cabbage)

My mother-in-law gave this recipe to me last year.  She made us some golabki during one of our visits, and loved it.  I've never had anything like it.  Golabki (pronounced go-whomp-kee, meaning pigeons) is a traditional Polish dish.  It is basically rice and beef stuffed in cabbage leaves, then cooked in tomato sauce.  I'm sure there are many variations of this recipe, but this one was very quick and easy to make.  One recipe makes about 8 to 10 rolls, depending on how big your cabbage leaves are.  I hope you try this some time. 

Golabki (Polish Stuffed Cabbage)

1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 cup cooked rice
1 egg
8 - 10 large cabbage leaves (one head of cabbage)
1 can tomato soup (Ragu also gives a lot flavor)
1 cup water

Score the head of lettuce on one side.  This allows the cabbage leaves to fall off when parboiling.  I made sort of a hexagon, and found that the leaves fell off a lot easier if the scores touch.  The picture below is not a very good example!

Parboil the cabbage until leaves are limp.  They should separate and fall off pretty easily.  Use tongs to remove from the boiling water.  Let the leaves cool on a plate with a paper towel. 

Pour half of the tomato soup at the bottom of a baking pan or roaster.  Cover the bottom of the pan with cabbage leaves.  I like to use the bad leaves (the ones that are falling apart) for the bottom, and save the good leaves for the actual rolls. 

I cooked the rice in a rice cooker beforehand to allow it to cool.  I also cooked the ground beef for a little while, but is not necessary since the rolls are going to be baked.  If you do cook the beef, don't overcook or cook completely.

Mix the rice, ground beef, salt, pepper, chopped onion and egg in a large bowl.   Place a generous amount of the meat mixture in a cabbage leaf and roll.  If you've rolled egg rolls before, this part should be a breeze.  Depending on the size of your leaves, these rolls can get pretty large and hefty.  The larger the better! 

Arrange the rolls in the baking pan, on top of the leaves.  Make sure the opening is facing down to keep it together.

Pour the rest of the tomato soup over the rolls and cover with more cabbage leaves. 

Bake in the oven at 350ºF for an hour and a half, or until the soup is boiling.  Serve hot.

These freeze well too.  Let them cool down and refrigerate for 24 hours before putting in the freezer. 


  1. Oh wow! If you freeze them and thaw them later, do the leaves get soggy?

    Minted Magazine

    1. I've honestly never tried freezing them myself, but I think I've eaten one thawed and reheated, and it was just as good! Plus, my mother-in-law wouldn't lie to me!

  2. Thanks for posting this recipe! You have told me about cooking this before and now I can try it myself. I don't need to wait until I visit you hahaha. The photo quality looks amazing by the way...makes a huge difference. LOVE IT!

    1. Yes, try it and let me know how it goes!

  3. Yum! Looks delish, gonna have to try this one too.

    I tried your chicken gyros one when Mackys cousins and her gfs were here from LA/LV and they were a hit! So much so, there wasn't even time to take pictures. LOL


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