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Old 12-08-2006, 03:42 PM   #1
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Golabki

I'm waiting for Chile's to come in that I've ordered for chili, so this weekend I'm going to try and update my old Golabki recipe.

The first new filing I plan to try is based on the CIA's with a few modifications...

1-lb Finely Ground Beef
1-lb Finely Ground Pork
8-oz Minced Onion - Sauteed
1/2-C Cooked Rice
4-oz Bread Crumbs
6-fl.oz Heavy Cream
2 Eggs
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

(Basically mix everything together)
Stuff raw of course so it can form properly and steam rather than brown.

I grew up with these smothered in jarred tomato sauce and baked in a foil covered pan. However, I see a bunch of recipes (including the CIA's) that recommend cooking in stock, and then serving them on a bed of tomato sauce. I think I'll be sticking to the ole' simmer in tomato sauce - but with my own, rather than that jarred stuff I grew up with.

Whats the verdict on bacon... Yes? No? Wrap the rolls? Use as part of the stuffing or sauce? I never had bacon with my Golabki, but so many recipes recommend it.

I reviewed the threads on the site, and found a couple neat tips like freezing the cabbage the night beofore and then thawing it rather than blanching. I imagine this ruptures the cells and produces pliant leaves without the boiling hassle. I plan to test run this technique.

I also plan to try using savoy cabbage. Picked up a few heads today.

The above stuffing apparently results in a smooth and tender texture when simmered slowly until they reach 160F (165 with carry-over).

My night mechanic at work is retiring, and I promised I'd work on Golabki's which are one of his favorite dishes. He brings in the giant hunks of cabbage stuffed with scrambled burger/rice and covered with a thin tomatoey broth. I can tell they aren't 100% to his liking because he's always dousing them with hot sauce/ketchup, and tossing some of it away after.

Anyhoo, looking for any of your secret tips and recipes.

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Old 12-09-2006, 11:48 AM   #2
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Any opinions on the bacon? I've never had it in Golabki before. Some say to wrap the rolls with it, some say to fry it first and break up into the sauce, and countless other renditions.

I may just leave it out the first batch. I dunno.
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Old 12-10-2006, 12:54 PM   #3
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Ok, have my first batch in the oven.

First off, I tried freezing/dethawing a head vs blanching the leaves. As far as texture is concerned, the freezing method works very well. But I did find the leaves to discolor, where as the blanched leaves were bright green/white. I'll be sticking to blanching the leaves in the future.

(I used Savoy cabbage by the way)

For the filling I used the above recipe, and found it to be the perfect volume for the outer leaves of four small heads of Savoy. Unfortunately I only bought three, so about 1/4 of my mix was leftover.

I used the CIA's method of stuffing which involves laying a sheet of cheesecloth over an 8fl.oz cup, overlapping two leaves, and then pressing them down into the cup with filling and using the cloth to shape the leaves. Turned out a bunch of even-sized Golabkis for even cooking and a nice presentation.

I have them braising in the oven with some homemade tomato sauce.

I did save four of them to try with bacon, but I ran out of sauce, so they will have to wait until tomorrow.

I'll let you guys know how they turned out...
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Old 12-10-2006, 01:36 PM   #4
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Hi Nick!

My mother's side of the family is Polish and has made golumpki (I never know how to spell it) every year for Christmas. They didn't use the tomato sauce technique (although some of their neighbors did and I liked it!), but placed the stuffed rolls on a bed of coarsely chopped cooked cabbage and chicken broth. Then baked them with strips of blanched salt pork laid over them until cooked through. When done, they went under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the tops.

I look forward to golumpki, and pierogi and mushroom borscht in a couple of weeks!

Lee
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:19 AM   #5
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Qsis - Interesting, so I guess the tomato sauce isn't traditional. I'll have to try using my bacon on top of the golabki's too, and then broiling them briefly to crisp it up.

Thanks!
-----
Well, I found some things I liked and some I didn't with the first batch. My future batches will not be including any breadcrumbs. The final product was similar to a cabbage incased rice-spiked meatball... It tasted good (everyone finished the pot), but they didn't have the texture I was imagining. I'm going to try the same stuffing mixture as above minus the crumbs and doubling the rice to 1-C cooked. I may cut back on the egg to a single unit as well.

It was also the first time I have ever used Savoy cabbage with Golabki's. I blanched the leaves long enough to make them pliable (for stuffing), but after braising I still think they could have cooked a bit more (minor nit-pick). I'm going to blanch them for a longer period of time next batch.

I think the best finding so far is the stuffing technique using an 8fl.oz coffee cup and some cheesecloth. I love uniformity and symmetry...
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:36 AM   #6
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Hi Nick!

Well coming from a family name ending in "ski", it's safe to say golabki were fairly common on the dinner table while I was growing up.

A few thoughts on your recipes above...

Breadcrubs - probably not, we always stick with just rice.
Bacon - I love bacon! But I leave it out of the golabki.
For the pork, we use pork sausage, gives a nice flavor to it
We never did the broth thing, only simmering in sauce (Which also helps hide the color issue from balnching vs freezing!)

Guess we'll need to fire up a batch here soon!

John
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:10 PM   #7
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ronjohn - Yeah, I've pretty much ruled out the breadcrumbs now. Don't get me wrong, those Golabki's were more than edible, but they weren't what I was looking for texture wise. Next batch will see the breadcrumbs cut out, the rice volume doubled, and the eggs cut back to one.

Interesting idea on the sausage. Is there a special polish sausage you use?

I've seen a massive number of recipes using bacon/salt pork laid in strips over the golabkis now, so next batch is going to have one pot with "plain" and one pot with bacon. I want to see what all the fuss is about...
-----
I picked up four more medium heads of Savoy today. Next batch will see a longer blanching time for them to see if I can't tenderize 'em a bit more.

Stopped by Barnes & Noble today and spent an hour in one of their nice comfy chairs with a stack of Polish cookbooks. Many of them contained a variant for a "Spicy Polish Tomato Sauce". Basically it starts off like marinara with oil, onions (julienne here), garlic, and alcohol... but then in addition you also toss in julienne of bell peppers, hot pepper flakes, and a 50/50 ratio of tomatoes/stock (either white beef or chicken). The only herbs are thyme, so no Basil. I'm going to give this sauce a run next batch as well. Suprisingly, many of the recipes have approximate ratios for the filling that I will be trying next. 2lbs meat/1-C cooked rice.

One would think that the cream I add would make the filling heavier, but it actually works to lighten the stuffing almost a bit like pate. It's recommended by the CIA, and in one of the cookbooks I read today. It also serves to keep the mixture moist with it's water/fat content, kind of like adding milk/cream to meatballs. I'll see how it works next round with no breadcrumbs.

Hopefully either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning I'll fire off the next batch.
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Old 12-11-2006, 04:06 PM   #8
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[quote=ronjohn55]Hi Nick!

Well coming from a family name ending in "ski", it's safe to say golabki were fairly common on the dinner table while I was growing up.

A few thoughts on your recipes above...

Breadcrubs - probably not, we always stick with just rice.
Bacon - I love bacon! But I leave it out of the golabki.
For the pork, we use pork sausage, gives a nice flavor to it
We never did the broth thing, only simmering in sauce (Which also helps hide the color issue from balnching vs freezing!)

Guess we'll need to fire up a batch here soon!









I also grew up on home made galumpkis - do you happen to have a family rec. for them? My Grandmaother use to make them but had no rec. - I would love to make some for my father for Christmas
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:48 PM   #9
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Man, haven't had time for anything the past couple days getting stuff arranged for school this spring. I bought those heads of savoy on Monday and have 'em in the back of my fridge. They should keep until tomorrow morning.

Waiting for UPS to get here with my spice order too.

Going to do a batch of Golabkis tomorrow morning sans breadcrumbs, double the rice, half the egg, and a nice quantity of that "spicy" polish tomato sauce. Also going to blanch the cabbage leaves a bit longer. I may try a batch with a regular 'ole head of cabbage this weekend too just for texture and flavor comparison to the Savoy. I'm not sure the "cup-method" for shaping will be applicable to the non-savoy cabbage varietals unfortunately. Hopefully, as I love the uniformity that method brings.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:12 PM   #10
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I'm not sure where the family recipe for "cabbage bundles" came from. I made them last week 1/2 lamb and 1/2 beef, diced onion that's been lightly sweated and cooled, cooked rice, salt & pepper and lots of dill weed, sometimes I add oregano.

I way prefer the freezing method - after blanching for many years we found the freezing method far superior. We also put them on a bed of sliced cabbage then we cover them with kraut and then pour the best tomato juice we can find over the top. This time I started the pot on top of the stove and then we put it in the oven until they were done. Yummmmy

My Penzey's box is down at the office - I'm waiting for my "cohort" to bring it down when she takes a break!
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:51 AM   #11
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Gonna' do some cooking here in a minute, just have to answer some eMails.

My order from Penzey's came in, and I am very much pleased with the quality. The sichuan peppercorns are fresh enough to have that numbing effect on the palate. The saffron is downright intoxicating, and the chile's are also of high quality (slightly "chewy" rather than brittle/dry).

The packaging was superb as well, with real glass jars and heavy-duty ziploc-type bagging for the larger volume items.

I believe I'll be switching over from my other eShops now to this place. I've got their catalog with a few things circled...

Anyone subscribe to their magazine? I may have to buy a year to try it out.

Anyhoo, off to make Golabkis.
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Old 12-15-2006, 12:29 PM   #12
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I'm a charter subscriber to their magazine - love it to death!
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:57 PM   #13
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Well, I just put a batch in. I was so busy yesterday I didn't get the chance. Here is what I went with (Wrapping/Filling/Sauce)...

1 Head Green Cabbage

1lb Ground Beef
1lb Ground Pork
1-C Cooked Rice
8-oz Minced Onions - Sweated Out
6fl.oz Heavy Cream
1 Large Egg
1-t Minced Parsley
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

2-T Flour
2-T Canola Oil
3-C Tomato Puree
2-C Chicken Stock
1/4-C Dry White Wine
Small Pinch Chile Flakes
4 Large Cloves Garlic - Crushed
1 Sprig Thyme
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

The green cabbage worked perfect with the CIA's coffee-cup method of stuffing the leaves. I though they would tear, but was pleasently suprised when they didn't.

Waiting for them to finish braising in the oven...
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:45 PM   #14
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Ok a few things...

1. I prefer the traditional green cabbage over the savoy.
2. I want to double the amount of roux next batch, or at least an incease of 50%.
3. Maybe more rice, I dunno, need to eat a few more before I can tell...
4. Cut the garlic to 2-cloves, 4 is just a bit unbalanced.

Going to do another batch in the morning to pawn off at a Christmas party.
I'll post how the minor changes above affect the final outcome.

Saved a couple raw ones to run a mini batch with bacon too...

EDIT: Perhaps a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomaters...

Gonna' up the rice to 1.5-C from 1-C.
Needs a bit more chile flakes.

I want to try using julienne peppers and onions in the sauce.
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:20 PM   #15
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looks edible from here. I think I may have to go and get myself some lunch.
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Old 12-17-2006, 09:06 AM   #16
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Thanks Little Miss J!
-----
Had one for breakfast. More proof that braises get even better with time spent resting.

I noticed that I might not have enough salt in the filling. I put in about a teaspoon of Kosher salt last batch. I may up that to 1.5-2t.

So today I will be making the following modifications to the last recipe...

1. 50% more roux.
2. Increase rice to 1.5-C.
3. Decrease garlic from four cloves to two.
4. A bit more salt in the filling.
5. A bit of sugar to balance the tomatoes' acidity.
6. A bit more chile flakes.
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Old 12-17-2006, 12:30 PM   #17
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Nicholas that is beautiful. You're keeping me hungry for more - may have to whip up another batch. I just got some wonderful Turkish Oregano in my Penzey's order that would be wonderful in a batch - very lemony.
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Old 12-17-2006, 01:21 PM   #18
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Harborwitch - Thanks! Oregano sounds great!
-----
I got brave and did something different.

Have to be at a Christmas party for 3pm, and was running out of time. I used my modifications above, but made a layered casserole kinda like a lasagna with the cabbage leaves as the "noodles", the meat pressed into layers (separated by more cabbage leaves), and used a few layers of sauce throughout. I got so busy this morning and lost track of time that I didn't have time to stuff every leaf.

I rarely do things like this for public gatherings, as I like to use only tested recipes for others. Hopefully it will come out ok...

I was in a rush to get it in the oven... hope I didn't forget anything...

I'll have more time this week to try some proper batches. I also plan on working with my chili recipe now that I have all these new chile's in from Penzey's, and new ideas from a couple new cookbooks I grabbed.

Whole young chickens were $0.59/lb this week too, so I grabbed a couple 3lb jobbers. I need to make stock too, so I might pick up a few more. Lot's of cooking to do this week.
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:14 PM   #19
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Ok!!

Finally got this dug out, and lo and behold, there are breadcrumbs in it!!!

2LB ground Beef
1LB pork sausage
1 egg
1/2 cup uncooked Rice
1 med onion - minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 Large Head Cabbage

Sauce
2 Can Tomato soup or Tomato Sauce (if using Tomato soup you may need to
add water to thin sauce)
1/4 cup ketchup
Pepper to taste

Mix these ingredients well and form into balls. Wrap with boiled cabbage leaves.

Place left over leaves and a a little bit of sauce (1/4 cup) in the bottom of the roaster and place cabbage rolls on top.

Add sauce over each layer of cabbage rolls. Cook at 325 degrees for 1.5
hours.

That's the recipe I have. I'm sure the sausage comes from a relative that was here in the states at some point, but I don't know who it would have been.

John
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:04 AM   #20
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ronjohn - Sounds good! I've been thinking about the uncooked rice bit. I really think this is a great idea, as the rice would then soak up the meat/cabbage/ juices, and probably some of the liquid from the sauce as well. My next batch is going to experiment with this for sure. Unless of course the cabbage seals too well. I'm a bit worried that I might have a problem with undercooked rice and overly-dry filling. Some recipes suggest adding some of the sauce to the meat mixture before stuffing when using uncooked rice. I'm taking a spin down to my local Barnes & Noble in a minute to buy a couple of the Polish cookbooks I was looking at the other day.

I think my sauce needs work too. Just isn't hitting 100% with me.
-----
The "Lazy" Golabki's were a hit by the way. I made three giant lasagna pans worth, 12lbs of meat, 9-C of cooked rice... they ate it all... I even got recipe requests, so I guess it wasn't too bad. I'm a lot more pickey unfortunately. To me it was good, but not something that I would chalk up on my amazing list. To me it still needs work.

I bought stuff to run another batch of the stuffed version. Hopefully this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
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