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Polish Golambki

March 20, 2011

Golambki have always been one of my favorite Polish foods growing up.  Back then I insisted on being a brat, unwrapping these cabbage rolls and mushing up the filling to create a meat and rice soup.  I know, sounds weird especially since I even liked the cabbage, which must have driven my mom crazy after spending all the effort making wrapping these little guys.  I also grew up very confused thinking that these were actual pigeons, since ‘golombki’ literally means ‘little pigeons’ in Polish, which really grossed me out at first but thankfully somewhere along the way I figured it out.  This is another very classic and traditional Polish dish that again, I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to make myself.  I’ve found that most of the stuffed cabbage recipes out there are of the tomato variety, but that would have been a huge no-no in our family.  My mom always made them in a mushroom broth, and while we have nothing against the ones made in tomato sauce, they just aren’t the same.  I was so thrilled that I was able to take her recipe and modify it slightly to get a pretty much spot on recreation.  The strong mushroom flavors here go so great with the filling and the cabbage and make this one of the most comforting and earthiest meals I could every imagine eating.  My mom insists that the trick to getting the best golambki is using a variety of ground meats, which is why I used beef, pork and turkey but the great thing here is that the proportions here can be tweaked according to your preferences and will still come out amazing.

Golambki– Polish Stuffed Cabbage in Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 whole head large green cabbage, or two smaller
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 pounds meat (I used 1lb ground beef, 1/2lb ground pork, 1/2lb ground turkey)
  • 1-2 cups cooked rice/grain of choice
  • 4 cups mushroom broth (I use Pacific Natural Foods from Whole Foods)
  • 1 package white button mushrooms
  • 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • salt, black pepper, paprika to taste

1) Heat up a cup or so of your mushroom broth and use it to rehydrate your porcini mushrooms.  Let sit for 30minutes.

2) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil

3) Remove the core from the cabbage with a paring knife.  Place the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water for a few minutes (about 3-5) and remove outer leaves using tongs as soon as cabbage is softened enough.  You will need 18-20 leaves. Set aside and let cool. Chop the remaining cabbage and line your 9 x 13 casserole/pyrex dish

4) For the filling, saute the chopped onion in the butter until softened and let it cool.

5) In a large bowl, combine your meat, onion, rice, 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp paprika and mix lightly with a fork.

6) Sautee the button mushrooms in the pan you sauteed your onions in.  Add the porcini mushrooms and the mushroom broth to warm up.

7) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

8 ) Use a knife to remove the thick center rib from the base of each cabbage leaf.

9) To assemble, place 1/2 cup of filling near the rib edge of each leaf.  Tuck the sides and roll up to the outer edge.

10) Arrange your cabbage rolls in the casserole dish.  Season with some more salt and pepper.

11) Pour your mushroom/mushroom broth over the rolls (it’s a lot but it adds a huge amount of flavor!)

12) Cover lightly with some foil.  Bake for 1hour until meat is cooked.  Serve with the broth.

*These also freeze really well.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2011 8:27 pm

    These look great Iga! Traditional recipes are the best. 🙂

  2. Jad Katalinic permalink
    April 21, 2011 4:20 pm

    Hi Im from Croatian origin and was amazed that you make this. I laughed my head off when you mentioned unwrapping them as a child, as I too did exactly the same thing!!!!! I cant wait to make your mushroom broth version.. will get back to you with a full report of coments from fussy croatians that love good food.xx

    • April 25, 2011 3:18 pm

      that’s too funny!! definitely let me know if you give these a try & how you like them!!

  3. May 5, 2011 8:38 am

    I haven’t thought about these for at least 30 years, but we always had them when we went to my great-grandmother’s house in Pittsburgh and I LOVED them.

    (Now I need to convince my hubby and son that the cabbage won’t kill them – or they can do like you did and just eat the filling.)

    Thanks for sharing this long-lost, total comfort food!

  4. May 11, 2011 4:03 pm

    From Poland? Very very good.

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