Golabki (Stuffed Cabbage)


At the table

I spent yesterday in the kitchen at mom’s house making a few of the dishes I grew up on. We made Golabki, sweet and sour cabbage, sour cream cucumbers, and mashed potatoes. It’s funny thinking back to when I lived at home. The only time my mom and I spent in the kitchen was her cooking and me stealing food. When I lived at home I had no interest in learning how to cook. When I finally left the nest, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved to eat and didn’t know how to cook. I received a cook book as a gift and the rest was history, well kind of. The first dish I tried looked so awful that I wanted to throw the pan out along with the food. Needless to say I have never tried baked chicken reubens again! Since starting this blog my mom and I have cooked together three times at her house. Here is yesterday’s menu. 


Ingredients for the Golabki

2 large heads of cabbage

2 pounds of lean ground pork

2 pounds of ground chuck

1 3/4 cups of partially cooked white rice (simmered 15 minutes instead of 20 and drained)

4 medium onions 3 processed fine and left raw, one chopped fine and sautéed in margarine or butter until translucent

3 teaspoons of regular salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of condensed tomato soup (optional)

1 tablespoon of sour cream (optional) 

Ingredients for the Sauce

2 cans of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup

2 cans of Del Monte original stewed tomatoes blended with their juices

one 6 ounce can of V8 juice

one capful of white vinegar (from the quart size of white vinegar) added near the end of cooking


Preparing the Cabbage

Place a large pot of water on the stove on high heat. With a sharp paring knife cut most of the core out of the cabbage leaving the head intact. When the water boils reduce to a strong simmer and carefully lower the head of cabbage into the water. As the cabbage is simmering the outer leaves will begin to separate from the head. Gently pull them away with a fork and remove when they are 3/4 of the way cooked. Remove the leaves one at a time and place in a colander to begin cooling. You will only be using the larger outer leaves for the Golabki. Set aside the smaller (still intact) leaves of cabbage for sweet and sour cabbage or fresh cabbage pierogi filling. (Recipes coming soon).  This recipe made 26 Golabkis. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, trim the ribs off of the cabbage leaves with a sharp paring knife making sure you do not cut all the way through the cabbage. (See picture) 

Preparing the Meat 

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until blended well. Add the optional ingredients if you wish (my grandmother did). My mom usually doesn’t. I really don’t notice a difference in such a small amount.


Preparing the Sauce  

Place all sauce ingredients except for the vinegar into a pan and bring to a simmer

 Rolling the Golabki

Ready for the oven


Hold the cabbage leaf in your hand with the cupped edges facing upward. Make sure the smaller ribbed end is near your wrist. Place approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw meat mixture (depending on the size of your cabbage) near the bottom of the leaf. Fold over the top of the meat. Tuck in both sides of the cabbage and continue rolling. Place seam side down in the roasting pan. If you have a stubborn or under cooked cabbage leaf that the sides won’t tuck properly, roll up and leave the sides open. Trim most of the excess cabbage from the open ends and push the remaining cabbage in towards the center of the Golabki with your finger until well sealed. Continue until all the rolls are seam side down. It’s ok if you stack the Golabki at this point, just change the direction they are facing for each layer. Also if you would like you can line the bottom of the roaster with left over leaves before placing the Golabki on top.

Finishing it off 

Once the roaster is full take the simmering sauce and slowly pour over the top of the Golabki until almost covered. Cover and place into a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours basting if necessary. Check after 1 1/2 hrs . You may need to let them go 2 hrs if you rolled them large. Sprinkle the capful of vinegar into the roasting pan 15 minutes before pulling them from the oven.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Terri Serwatowski on January 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Ken, you learned from the best chef ever. Your Mother. I remember coming to your house and the food was to die for. Your Mom can cook! All the Polish dishes you have posted I have eaten at your Mom’s house growing up. Fond memories to be sure.


    • Terri, my wife says I’m just like my mom. No matter how good something turns out we always think something could have been better or that something was missing. My mom said when we made these last night the meat was too lean and they were a little bit hard. Everyone else thought they were great.


  2. Posted by Anne Willinger on January 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

    My favorite Polish dish! Thanks for posting this one Ken!


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