Grandma’s Heartwarming Cabbage Rolls Recipe. I visited West Ukraine a few years ago and spent a few months there. I have wonderful memories of my vacation. I remember my friend’s grandma cooking. She did everything from scratch.
We had our own dough for pastas or pierogies. Borsch (beet soup), Nalysnyky (large thin pancakes stuffed with sweet cottage cheese and raisins and topped with sour cream and sugar), Green Borsch (sorrel soup), and Pierogies stuffed with mashed potatoes were among my favorites. It’s weird, but mostly things tasted even better on a second day.
When cooking, there was one produce her grandma used the most. For her, cabbage was her most beloved product. She used to make various meals based on cabbage (see more cabbage recipes here).
Today, I would like to share with you one of them, called Holubzi [g-o-l-u-b-z-e-e] in Ukrainian, mostly known as cabbage rolls recipe in the USA.
Those who’ve spent their childhoods in Eastern Europe most likely know what cabbage rolls recipe look and taste like. For those who haven’t, I hope I will be interested in trying them.
Grandma’s Heartwarming Cabbage Rolls Recipe
TO MAKE THE CABBAGE ROLLS:
- 2 medium cabbages
- 1 pound ground meat beef, pork, or any poultry
- ½ cup rice white, brown, or wild
- 1 big onion or 2 medium onion. I use sweet onions
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 1 pack tomato paste or regular ketchup
- 2-3 cups beef or chicken broth, preferably low sodium
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or any other you prefer for cooking
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion salt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
FOR THE TOPPINGS (OPTIONAL):
- 1 dollop heavy whipping cream
- 1 dollop sour cream
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- Take one big (tall) pot. Pour in water. About 2/3. Let the water boil.
- Meanwhile, take cabbages, and peel off the upper leaves. Usually, they don’t look too good. So, we can throw them away. Cut off the bottom of the stem, so you can gently peel off the next leaf. You will need periodically to cut the stem in order to be able to peel off the next leaf. If the leaf breaks, don’t worry. You’ll be able to use it in wrapping anyway. By the time you are done with two cabbages, you will have two or three piles of cabbage leaves.
- Take five to six leaves and gently put them into boiling water. Let them cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Then, gently take the leaves out. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage leaves. Let them cool off.
- While dealing with cabbage, you might want to start on the rice. Take a medium size pot. Take 1/2 cup of rice and rinse twice in cold water beforehand. Put rice in a pot. Then, pour in broth. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or butter). Add salt. Wait until it’s boiling. Then, reduce the heat, and simmer with a cover on. I also like to add herbs and spices to rice halfway before it is done.
- Heat up a large skillet. If it’s a non-stick skillet, you can skip the oil. Otherwise, put a little oil in. Let it heat up a bit. Then, put ground meat in. Let it turn from pink to brown. Mix it up, and break it up regularly to cook evenly.
- When cooking meat, I add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, and other seasonings. Now, take two carrots. Peel them off and shred them up. Take onion. Peel it off, and chop it into small pieces.
- Heat up a small skillet with oil in it. Put in onions first. Let them fry for a few minutes. Then, add shredded carrots. Add salt and pepper. Cook until carrots are softened up and onions are goldish.
- Add onion-carrot mixture to ground meat that has been cooking and is now brownish color. Mix it up. Then, add cooked rice. Mix it up again. Now, you have your filling for cabbage rolls.
- Turn on your oven into Bake mode, with a temperature of 425°F.
- Now, the fun part is wrapping. Before putting the rice mixture into the leaf, make sure you cut off a bit of the center stem of the leaf, which usually is hard and would prevent easy rolling. Put rice mixture on the bottom part of the leaf. Starting from the bottom, roll up. You might want to turn the sides of the leaf in and then continue with rolling up. Don’t worry. It takes practice. Though, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Rolls that are ready, you can put into an oven-proof deep dish. After you are done with all rolls, pour in broth (about a half height of the rolls themselves). Now, my little secret: add skinless sliced tomatoes (or regular ketchup) on top. Cover with remaining cooked cabbage leaves. Put in the oven, and cook for about one hour. Some women prefer cooking cabbage rolls on a stove. So, it’s up to you.
- For the topping, I like to mix in hot skillet sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and chopped green onions with fresh parsley.