Sunday, 4 December 2011

Recipe XXXVI - Polish Gołąbki

Poland is one of my favourite culinary destinations. Of all the food in Europe, Poland's cuisine is one of the most exciting, and I try to cook something Polish once per month as a special treat. Today, Gołąbki, which are truly tasty. You pronounce it Go-womp-ki, and if you've never tried them, you've never lived! The Polish cook this to a standard recipe, but there are variations. I like to put some herbs and garlic in mine, but this is not obligatory.

Ingredients for the Gołąbki:
1 green cabbage
1 finely chopped onion
500g minced beef
1 egg
2 cups of rice
Some ground black pepper
A little milk

1 tin of tomatoes
1 carton of tomato passata
2 tablespoonfuls of ordinary vinegar
250ml water
2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar

If you have had the cabbage in the fridge, wait until the cabbage is at room temperature, as it is easier to get the leaves off.

Heat the oven to 180°C.

While you are waiting for the oven to heat up, you can make your combination: boil your rice in a saucepan. While that is boiling, take the minced beef, the pepper, some salt, the egg and the diced onion, and mix them up well in a bowl. Once the rice is done, add that too, mixing very well. Use some milk if necessary. Set aside to marinate for a while. Take your cabbage now, and start carefully peeling off the leaves. You will need about 12 medium-to-large leaves in the end. Put them briefly in some boiling water, to soften a little. Three minutes should do.

Then take the minced beef and put some into one of the leaves like you see below:

Then wrap the meat inside the leaf and seal it with a cocktail stick.

Repeat this process until all the meat is used up. Remember to keep the cabbage ready to peel more if there is any meat left over. The nearer to the inside you go, the harder it is to peel the leaves, so you may wish to put the remains of the cabbage in the boiling water to be sure you can get more leaves. Pile them up on top of each other in a cast iron casserole pot, as follows:

The sauce is very, very easy. Take your tin of tomatoes, the vinegar and the passata, and mix them together well. Add some sugar and water, and pour it over the Gołąbki in the pot.

Put the pot into the oven for an hour. Serve immediately alone, or with boiled potatoes. Remember to remove the cocktail sticks before you eat!

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