Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
In Poland they are called ‘Golabki’ – what stands for little pigeons. Similar dish, whose name has the same meaning, is typical also for Lithuanian, Russian, Czech, Slovak or Belorussian cuisine. Apart from this, in some countries people stuff grape leaves with various fillings. The recipe for stuffed (or rolled as some call it) cabbage presented here is one of the version used in numerous Polish households. You can also get to know how to change ingredients so that the dish would suit the vegetarians or could be served for Christmas Eve dinner.
The preparation starts with purchasing proper cabbage. As the leaves should be big enough to fit in the filling, it might appear that the one freshly picked in Summer is not good for the recipe. You must take out a cabbage-stump (by making a whole in it) and boil the cabbage in hot, salty water for about 3-5 minutes. The leaves cannot be cooked – they just need to become softer, so that the rolling would be easier. After all, the leaves with filling will be baked at the end anyway.
Right after you separate the leaves (cutting of a leaf after leaf). The ones in the middle will be too small to make golabki out of it (therefore use only bigger ones). The leaves still might have harder part (the one that was situated closer to the cabbage-stump) – you should carefully ‘peel them off’ so as not to damage the leaves at the same time.
For the traditional filling (with meat) you need:
2 cups of barley
1 cup of rice
Boil barley together with rice on low – in hot, salty (with about half spoon of salt) water for about 20 minutes, until the water sinks into it.
1 kg of pork shoulder
Mince the meat and fry it (on oil or large) with onion – until the meat changes its colour. Mix fried meat with previously cooked rice with barley. Add spices for better taste (salt, pepper...).
Put the filling in the middle of the leaf. Put the edges of the leaf inside and roll it – so that the filling was fully covered by it. Put prepared (rolled) in that way golabki to the large pot and pour some water into it – the water, however, cannot cover golabki. Some leaves must be placed on the bottom of the pot (underneath golabki) and on the top. Cover the pot with the lid and bake golabki for at least 1 hour in a hot oven (the temperature should be about 180-200 Celsius degrees).
So prepared golabki are ready to be eaten! They taste delicious with tomato or mushroom sauce, while some people eat them also (except for sauce) with potatoes.
If you intend to prepare golabki for Christmas Eve dinner (during which it is not allowed in Poland to eat meat) or you wish to make them in vegetarian way, you might exchange the meat from the filling with mushrooms (the wild mushrooms are the best but champignons might be also used). It is the best to fry them on butter instead of oil or large.
The leaves that you used on the bottom and top are delicious too! Golabki dish is a great choice for family dinner. Nobody will leave the house hungry!