Gołąbki is my no.1 favourite Polish dish. They're cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of meat and rice, served with tomato sauce. The preparation is a bit time-consuming, but at the same time it's very simple and usually yields enough for more than 1 dinner. Gołąbki can sit in the fridge for a few days, and they freeze well too. Each Polish family has their own recipe - here's my take on it!
Ingredients for 12 gołąbki:
1 white cabbage - the largest you can find!
1kg minced pork
Salt, pepper, marjoram
Optional: chopped & fried onion and garlic.
Cook the rice, let it cool down and mix it in a large bowl with the raw meat and the spices. Be generous with the marjoram, you really want to be able to taste it. Divide the mixture into 12 portions.
Meanwhile, take any damaged outer leaves off the cabbage. Put the cabbage in a large pan and cover with boiling water - set this on medium heat and leave for about 20min. This will soften the leaves and allow you to take them off the cabbage head one by one, without breaking them. You will need about 12 nice, whole leaves to make your gołąbki. Keep any damaged leaves aside - you will need them later as well.
Once you have your leaves ready, take a sharp knife and slice off the thickest bits of the stem on each leaf. This will make the leaves more flexible for wrapping and easier to eat.
Put a portion of the meat mixture at the bottom of each leaf, fold in the sides and roll it up like a burrito. Repeat until you run out of leaves and meat mixture. If your cabbage leaves are not very large, you may end up with more than 12 gołąbki.
To cook, line the bottom of a large pan with any leftover/damaged leaves you have left. Place your gołąbki in the pan quite tightly, in two or three layers. You may have to cook them in batches or use two pans at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Cover them with water, put the lid on and cook on low/medium heat for about 1.5 hrs.
Meanwhile, make tomato sauce - I made mine by melting some butter in a pan, adding a tablespoon of flour, mixing well, ten pouring in a box of tomato passata and some stock until the consistency was to my liking; I then added some herbs and spices. You can use a ready-made jar of tomato/spaghetti sauce as well.
When your gołąbki are cooked, served them hot with a good splash of tomato sauce.