So a couple of things happened this week that left me craving the comfort food of my childhood. One of those meals is halupki (also called golabki, pigs in the blanket, and stuffed cabbage). I remember watching my mom and the other church women standing over huge pots of halupki before each parish festival, I’d sneak into the church kitchen for a smell only to be ushered out by the babushka-wearing neighbor who served as my second grandmother.
A lot of people are wary of making halupki from scratch, but it really is a dish best made at home. If you really don’t have all day (by which I mean 3-4 hours) you have two additional options: make a casserole by layering the ingredients and covering with sauce OR make these ahead of time and bake the next day in the oven or by placing in a slow cooker set to low for 6-8 hours.
This one’s for you, Mary!
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Halupki (serves a whole neighborhood…ok, serves 8-10 & this freezes very well)
1 head of cabbage, cored
large pot of salted water
3 lbs ground beef (or pork & beef mix)
1 1/2 cups white rice, cooked
1 small onion, shredded
2 Tbsp parlsey
garlic powder to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 Cups reserved cabbage water
1 can (28 oz) tomato sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a baking dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a slow boil, add the cored cabbage head so it’s covered. Boil the cabbage for about 15 minutes, removing & draining the leaves as they come off the head. Remove as many leaves as you can. Allow the “butt” of the cabbage head to cool. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cabbage water.
In a large bowl mix the meat, rice, onion, eggs, and spices.
Cut the “butt” of the cabbage into pieces and place in the bottom of the baking dish.
Lay out a cabbage leaf and cut the thick stem piece out. Roll some meat mixture into a small loaf and place on one side of the cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat, then place the roll with the loose end down in a baking dish. Repeat until all of the cabbage and meat is gone. Any extra meat can be made into meatballs and placed between the cabbage rolls.
Make the sauce by adding 1 1/2 Cups of the cabbage water to the tomato sauce, then add the vinegar and sugar. Start with the smallest amount of sugar and add more until you get the tang you like.
Pour the sauce over the rolls and cover. Baked covered for 2 hours, remove cover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven, baste the sauce over the rolls and sit for 15 minutes before serving.