Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed cabbage, or golabki, is a traditional festive Polish dish. If, like me, you cannot afford a personal Polish chef, hopefully your kitchen is your happy place because preparing this holiday-worthy meal is a culinary event. After you have peeled, stuffed, rolled, and boiled your afternoon away, these bad boys have to bake for three hours. The good news is, as they bake, the cozy level of your house will skyrocket while scents of the tomatoey, meaty, brown sugary mixture fill the air.

I loved making this recipe. And if you love a few hours of kitchen therapy or can afford that personal Polish chef, Granny’s stuffed cabbage rolls are worth the time. This recipe has nothing in common with the dinosaur chicken nuggets that require a brief stint in the microwave and often make their way to my toddler’s highchair tray.

According to Wikipedia, Polish myth holds that the king of Poland served stuffed cabbage, or golabki, to his army before an important battle of the Thirteen Years’ War. Apparently the hearty meal gave them the strength they needed for victory.
Similarly, but not so similarly, this was often on Granny’s menu when important guests and special family members came to dine. So know that if I make this for you, it is because you are one of my most special guests, worthy of a culinary event. And unlike a certain king in a certain war, I wouldn’t expect you to skip dessert so you could run out and engage in combat, much less help with the dishes.
Final Thoughts
This dish is worth the effort. It is warm, celebratory, rustic, and worthy of fancy guests and Polish warriors alike. However, I wouldn’t serve this one to your toddlers; let them stick to the dino nuggets.

Here is what you will need:


Cabbage Rolls – Golabki


Prep time: 2 hours. Total Time: 5 hrs. Serves: 6-8

  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 cup raw regular or processed white rice
  • 1 grated small onion
  • 2 eggs (I only use 1)
  • 1 sliced large onion
  • 2 – 8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 – No. 2.5 cans tomatoes (Not knowing what this was, I used 2 cans diced tomatoes and added them as needed.)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 c brown sugar
  • Heat oven to 350 (the recipe didn’t give an oven temp so I went with ole reliable 350. I did turn it down to 325 at about hour 2).
  • Remove 12 large leaves from cabbage. If you have trouble with this, hold the whole head of cabbage in the steam of a pot of boiling water to loosen the leaves. Shave off thick part of each leaf. Pour on boiling water to make leaves easy to roll.
  • Combine meat with rice, grated onion, eggs, salt and pepper.
  • Place mount of meat mixture in cup part of each leaf.  Loosely fold over sides of each leave, roll up.
  • In bottom of dutch oven, place four remaining leaves. Then, arrange layers of rolled leaves with seam sides down. Add sliced onion to the dutch oven.
  • Pour on sauce, tomatoes, and juice of lemon. Add salt and pepper, and sprinkle on brown sugar.
  • Bring to boil on top of range; then bake covered for 3 hours. You may want to uncover for the last hour.

According to Granny – Cabbage rolls freeze nicely before baking or after. They are delicious the next day too. We always have mashed potatoes on which we use the juice. Delicious.

Cabbage Rolls Long Pin

5 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage”

  • Galubki was one of my most favorite meals growing up although my very Polish father called them “pidgin bellies” a term which put a few uninitiated dinner guests off. I don’t think my sister and I even heard of galupki until we were 10-12 years old. By any name galubki is a wonderful meal for company.

  • This fancy guest loved it also. I feel privelaged. My mom made them and I also make them but yours were the best Galubki’s I have ever tasted. Next time I will try Granny’s recipe. A few differences are the lemons and brown sugar.

  • Girls, I love what you are doing.
    The layout, pictures, and style are all A+. The effort you are making to honor your grandma makes me smile. Creative, clever, inspiring-she would be so proud!

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