REGIONAL STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
- 1 medium size cabbage head
- 2 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled)
- 1 white onion (finely chopped)
- ½ cup of cream
- oil for frying (rapeseed is best)
- 1 bulb of nutmeg
- A few seeds of coriander
- ¼ cup of freshly chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup of roasted buckwheat (cooked)
- 10 oz. of champignon mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons of clarified butter
- Salt and pepper for taste
Gołąbki have been a known part of Polish cuisine for centuries, made with a variety of fillings wrapped in fresh or pickled cabbage leaves. The history of this dish in Poland likely extends back to around the nineteenth century and it is an influence of the eastern borderlands. The peasant classes of central and eastern European countries are considered the original inventors of the dish due to the widespread cabbage cultivation that historically took place in these regions. In their earliest version they typically consisted of buckwheat and potatoes and, being vegetarian, made for an excellent Christmas Eve dish. Today, gołąbki are made all around Poland as a dish for both special occasions and everyday consumption, and they come with varying fillings and toppings. Most commonly today, they are stuffed with ground pork meat and rice or groats (buckwheat is still a popular addition) along with other additives such as onions, mushrooms and spices. Some filling options also involve poultry or mutton. Common toppings include a red tomato sauce or a mushroom sauce. The recipe shared below is based on the most original version of Polish cabbage rolls and one that is loved and enjoyed throughout the Lublin region of Poland.
- Prepare the cabbage leaves. Cut off the stem of the cabbage. Then, very gently peel the leaves from the top. You’ll notice that the leaves closer to the core will be a bit stiffer and harder to remove without ripping. You want to use only the leaves that come off the cabbage head easily as these will be flexible enough to make into a roll later on. You will likely only get about 6-8 leaves out of an average cabbage head. If you want to make more cabbage rolls than that you will need more cabbage.
- Sauté the onion. Once the onions have sauted to a nice glassy, translucent color set them aside to cool.
- Blanch the cabbage leaves. Set water to boil in a large pot (sift in about 1.5 teaspoons of salt for taste). As the water heats prep a large kitchen bowl with iced water and set it near your stove. Place the cabbage leaves into the pot of boiling water two at a time, letting them cook for 45 seconds and then transfer them over into the iced water. Let the leaves sit in the iced water for 3 minutes and then set aside on a plate, patting them dry with a paper towel. This process softens the leaves and enriches their color.
- Cut off the stem of each cabbage leaf. Cut a V-shape at the bottom of each cabbage leaf, removing the stem. This is the stiffest part of each leaf and needs to be removed before rolling each cabbage roll. Once all stems have been removed, set the plate of leaves aside momentarily and prepare the filling.
- Prep the filling.
- Finely grate all potatoes into a medium mixing bowl (use the smallest hole on your grater).
- Grate half the bulb of nutmeg into the potatoes
- Toss in the sautéed onions and stir
- Strain off the excess water from the potato mixture by transferring over into a strainer and squeezing out the excess liquid with your hands. Once done, place the potato mix back into your mixing bowl.
- Add in the cooked buckwheat
- Add in the coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Stir the filling, blending all ingredients thoroughly
- Form the cabbage rolls. Place a cabbage leaf flat on a cutting board. Scoop a tablespoonful of the filling over the middle of the leaf. Fold the leaf in from left and right then beginning at the bottom of the leaf roll the leaf over tightly. Do this for each cabbage leaf. Place all the cabbage rolls in a medium-size heatproof oven dish. You’ll want to use a dish that is large enough to fit all the cabbage rolls but that allows them to fit in tightly next to one another. Set this aside and prepare the sauce.
- Prepare your sauce. Pour a bit of clarified butter over a frying pan. Toss in your mushrooms, cut into quarter pieces. Allow them to cook through until they have fully released their liquid and it has evaporated. Once the mushrooms have browned add in the lemon juice and cream and give it a stir. Add in the ¼ cup of dill. Add a couple of pinches of salt and some pepper to taste. Stir all this and let the sauce come to a delicate boil.
- Add the sauce to the cabbage rolls. Pour the creamy mushroom sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls in your oven dish.
- Bake your cabbage rolls. Set your oven to 320º Fahrenheit and bake your cabbage rolls for 70-80 minutes until cabbage is tender.
- Serve and enjoy! Place the cabbage rolls on a serving plate (two at a time), garnish with a bit of fresh dill, cut in and enjoy!