Tuesday, October 16, 2012

At Home: Golombki

Keith grew up with classic Polish dishes made by his grandparents. They only made them mostly during the holidays or for special occasions. They never really wrote anything down, so the recipes we got from them were recited from memory and are very loose interpretations with "a little bit of this....a dash of that...." to make it all taste good! This next installment of What Micky Eats...At Home features Grandma Olga's Golombki (Stuffed Cabbage) that we've modernized.

Olga's Golombki (Stuffed Cabbage) (Makes 6 - 8 pieces)
  • 2 lbs ground meat (turkey, beef, pork, lamb, or a combo of either)
  • 2 cups cooked rice, cooled down
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 5 pieces of bacon
  • 1 head of cabbage, boiled
  • 1 large can tomato sauce* (24 oz)

- Carefully cut out the core of the cabbage and boil in large pot of water; remove the first several large leaves and set aside.
- Sauté onion until translucent. Set aside.
- Fry bacon; retain some of the grease; crumble pieces and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix meat together with rice, onion, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
- Shape meat mixture into a small football, about the size of your palm.
- Add meat mixture onto cabbage leaves; fold cabbage leave up and over - then fold the sides and roll closed.
- Line the bottom of Crock-Pot with some cabbage leaves; put the completed golombki in the pot on top of each other.
- Pour a can of tomato sauce over all of them as well as the bacon grease;  sprinkle a bit of the crumbled bacon over everything.
- Put additional leaves over the top.  Cover the pot and set on high for a minimum of 3 hours.  Golombki will feel firm to the touch when ready.

Remove the top layer of cabbage to reveal the golombki.  Most of the bacon will have disintegrated into the sauce.
We used one pound of ground turkey and one pound of ground pork in our meat mixture. We basically eyeballed the measurements and modified the spoken recipe we got from Olga.  If you don't have a Crock-Pot, you can easily simmer the golombki in a large pot on low heat or place in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for a couple hours.  Still layer and cover with the extra cabbage leaves and then cover with a lid to steam everything.

*The flavor was not 100% spot on to what Keith remembers, so he did some extra research and found other recipes that use a can of tomato soup and not tomato sauce.  The coloring in the pictures of those that used soup looks more orange and more like what he recalls.  Perhaps our Polish-English translation from Olga was slightly off.  We will confirm with other family members when we see them during the holidays, and perhaps further modify this recipe.  But for now, our interpretation of golombki wasn't so bad.  It tasted hearty and typical of an European dish - perfect for this cool Fall weather we've been experiencing.  One big stuffed golombki was enough to fill me, and I found the cabbage tender with just a hint of bacon flavor.  We will definitely make some adjustments in our next attempt of this classic Polish dish and próbują znowu!  (try again!)

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