Polish Cabbage Rolls {Gołąbki}

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Polish Cabbage Rolls {Gołąbki}

Polish Cabbage Rolls {Gołąbki} – no need for a long explanation for gołąbki [pron. goh-wom-bkee]. For some reason this savory dish found a huge following here in the US. There are about as many recipes for them as the chefs cooking them. I’m presenting a basic recipe today, the way they were made in my home by my grandmother, but this by no means is the only way to make them. Here is also a vegetarian version with buckwheat and mushrooms: recipe here

Polish Cabbage Rolls {Gołąbki}

Polish Stuffed Cabbage {Gołąbki}

  • Yields: About 15 rolls
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 1/2 lb of ground pork or turkey
  • 2 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (vegetable ok)
  • 3 bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Cook rice following the directions on the package, but shorten the cooking time by half.

  2. Wash cabbage and cut out the core. Place cabbage in a pot (hole down) and fill with water to cover the whole head. Start heating the water and as the leaves start loosening away from the head, remove from water (careful! Hot!). Set leaves aside, and also preserve those that may break while separating.

  3. Lay out cooled leaves and with a sharp knife, slice off a portion of the thick part of the leave so the leaves lay flat (there may be a slight curve in the leave).

  4. Place ground meat in a large mixing bowl, add cooked rice, sautéed onion, salt, pepper. Hand mix until combined.

  5. Depending on the size of the leave, place a ball of meat on each leave in the natural curve of the leave. Start rolling from the bottom, then sides (as pictured). Set rolls aside until all done.

  6. Now to cook, you may choose to bake or boil. I boiled mine, but I'm presenting both ways of cooking.

  7. Boiling:

  8. Place broken leaves on the bottom of the pot you boiled the cabbage in and layer cabbage rolls on top, placing each roll seem down. Cover with any leftover leaves.

  9. Fill the pot with chicken stock to cover the layered rolls. Boil on low for about 30 min.

  10. Baking:

  11. Place rolls in a baking dish, cover with broken up leaves. Carefully add a little bit of stock (about 1/3 of the depth of the dish). Bake at 350F for about 45 min.

  12. To make the sauce:

  13. Heat tomato puree with bay leaf and spices for about 20 min to reduce and thicken. Taste, add more salt if needed.

Notes

Serve immediately drenched in sauce.

Even though they’re filled with rice, we always ate them with potatoes at dinner. It was nice to have that starch to soak up the sauce and cut the richness of the meat.

Polish Cabbage Rolls {Gołąbki}

If you’re looking for a recipe for a classic Polish tomato sauce, look here or my favorite mushroom sauce, look here: mushroom sauce

What’s your favorite way to eat them? Leave me a comment below.

Smacznego!

Anna


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28 Comments

  1. Do you have a recipe for a soup made with from your stuffed cabbage rolls but instead of stuffing cabbage use all ingredients to make a soup. Friend of mine is looking for a recipe. Her mom made this soup but never wrote it down. Can you help? Mrs Hornberger

  2. Hello Anna, thank you for sharing your excellent recipes. Advice, please: Would it be better to make these the evening before a party then cook them (fridge raw)? Or should I cook them first then refrigerate overnight? I plan to make the tomato sauce right before serving.
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  3. How do you make the tomato sauce. What is the recipe for that I’m so excited I finally found the recipe that is close to my moms I lost the paper that I always had is it better to use long grain rice or can you use the minute rice and have you ever cooked with ribs on top of those rolls sauerkraut and tomatoes

    1. Janice, you can search for my tomato sauce recipe in the CONDIMENTS & SAUCES section of the RECIPE INDEX. As far as rice goes, any type will do (maybe apart from sushi rice), I’ve used all kinds and they have never not turned out. Good luck! Anna

  4. Janice, you can search for my tomato sauce recipe in the CONDIMENTS & SAUCES section of the RECIPE INDEX. As far as rice goes, any type will do (maybe apart from sushi rice), I’ve used all kinds and they have never not turned out. Good luck! Anna

  5. Is the chicken broth supposed to cook down and reduce when you simmer on the stovetop? What do you do with the extra broth (if there is any)? I’m making them right now.
    Thank you

    1. Jane, sauce will provide moisture to the rolls. It will reduce a bit, but cook it covered so the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn if the broth cooks off. Make tomato or mushroom sauce separately.

  6. We called them halupkis (Slovak). My mom made them similar to yours, boiled. But she layered cabbage rolls, saurkraut and the left over cabbage that wasn’t used for the rolls. My job was to trim the cabbage leaves like you said in your recipe. I’ve never tried with tomato sauce, I’ll have to try that. Thank you Anna for your You Tube videos!

  7. I made these last night and they were fabulous! One question: can you bake them in your sos pomidorowy instead of chicken broth? My Babcia always baked them in tomato sauce.

  8. My maternal babcia also baked the golabki in tomato sauce but they were from the Galicia region of Poland. My father was from Warsaw and I understand that region bakes the golabki in broth as described in this recipe. There are probably endless variations, depending on taste and availability. So interesting! Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Hi Maggie! Gołąbki in Poland are 99.9% of the time boiled in a pot in broth and sauce is made separately. Is that the only way? Not saying that, but it seems that the sauce method has been adopted in the US.

      1. My father’s family were Ukrainians from Galicia and our halupki are always baked in tomato sauce. My housemate’s part Polish and *his* family does the same. We’ve always joked that our ancestral towns/villages are probably less than 40 miles away as the crow flies. Looks like we’ve got a bit of proof!

  9. Excellent recipe! The sauce is delicous too! Simple, home cooking at its best. Thank you for sharing your family recipe.

  10. I put kraut and smoked Polish sausage on top of the rolls and then cover with the big leaves. On the bottom, I chop up the unusable small cabbage leaves and the core. I also use the cabbage water to pour over the halupky. So good. Making halupky[Slovak] and ham for Mother’s Day. The kids will have to come and pick up their dinners to take home for their families since the weather will be cold and rainy and we’re too many to be indoors at this time. Love your recipes and videos.

  11. My grandmother and grandfather immigrated from Poland in the later part of the 1800’s. I remember visiting her tiny home in Leavenworth, Ks and enjoying the coffee cake she made and the bow tie polish cookies covered in powdered sugar. The recipes you shared for the Golumbki, (pigeons, pigs in a blanket, cabbage rolls, etc) was great. I will share with my family and I am sure they will love your website and the Youtube posts. Lots of memories. My grandmother and grandfather had a pre-arranged marriage. She wanted to be a nun and ended up with 10 girls and 3 boys! The stories and recipes you share are very much appreciated. You and your husband are great together and I love the humor you include as well. Thanks!

  12. I made my first recipe from your lovely Polish your kitchen website along with your tomato sauce. I loved it! You are right that it is better the second day. I couldn’t restrain myself the first day… I will from now on, though. I am hooked on your recipes and video’s now. The next recipes I want to try are your ribs with sauerkraut and your sour rye soup. I ordered the white sausage and Zurek starter from Polish Food Direct in New York that I found on your website. I will get them next week!

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