Sunday, January 8, 2012

Little pigeons!

   "Little pigeons" is the exact translation of one of my favorite Polish dishes called golabki. They have nothing to do with pigeons (don't worry, you don't have to hunt any birds for dinner), they got their name because of their shape, resembling a pigeon's torso. If "golabki" doesn't tell you anything, maybe stuffed cabbage will ring a bell? That's exactly what I am writing about today. I am not going to say that it's quick and easy... I mean it is to me, but if you've never seen it done, it may be a little bit challenging. The list of ingredients is short though:

1 whole cabbage head (as big as you can get)
1.5 lb ground beef (or chicken)
2 cups of rice
1 large chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of beef broth
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper

   I usually prepare stuffing first and then take care of the cabbage. Melt half of the butter in a skillet and saute onions, garlic, add meat, and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink (it doesn't have to be perfectly cooked because it's going to bake for a while). Mix meat with cooked rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a pot large enough to fit the cabbage head, boil some water and cook cabbage for about 5 minutes until it is soft enough to pull off individual leaves. Using a small knife cut away the thick center stem from each leaf without cutting all the way through. It's very easy for me to make the rolls, but somehow I find it super difficult to explain it to you, but let me try. Place a big spoon of meat stuffing on each cabbage leaf, flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side, and roll away from you to create a neat little roll. I think that's the best I can do to explain. Place all the rolls (tightly packed) in a baking dish, slice remaining butter on the top of them, and pour the beef broth. Cover everything with a foil and bake for an hour at 350F.

   Don't worry if the leaves tear a little bit, it all depends on the cabbage you get, so you can't really control it. Look how delicious they look, and trust me they are even better then you think they will be.

   Juicy, soft, smooth, and very, very aromatic. You can use a regular cabbage or mix it up a little bit and use savoy cabbage, which is delicious as well (but has a little bit different texture).

   The "traditional" way of serving golabki is with tomato sauce, but somehow we are not big fans of it. Justin absolutely loves to eat golabki with ketchup (as seen above) and I prefer a mushroom sauce, which I usually buy ready to go (hey, I never said I am a SuperWoman, sometimes I just buy pre-made things).

   So good! I know only one person who says that he doesn't like golabki (you know who you are!) other than that, this dish is an absolute hit among my friends! I usually double the recipe and make a huge batch of them so I can pack lunches for a whole week and share some with friends as well.

Have a great day.

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