• Anntonette Z Alberti

Stella Z's Perfect Gołąbki Recipe

#Gołąbki [go-whoomp-ki], is a star of the PolishFest menu! It is a main dish consisting of seasoned meat, rice and vegetables lovingly wrapped in a cabbage leaf and baked in a tomato based sauce.

Gołąbki literally means “little pigeons” in #Polish and is the plural form of the word. If you want just one, you should ask for a gołąbek.

Polish myth holds that the King of #Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Casimir IV, fed his army with gołąbki before a key battle of the Thirteen Years' War outside of Malbork Castle against the Teutonic Order. The only victory anyone ever had against the Teutonic knights is credited to the strength-giving properties of this hearty meal.

This is my mother, Stella Peplowski Zembrzuski's recipe (that is her above, with my father, Tom Zembrzuski, @1976). Gołąbki were my mother's signature dish! This recipe was tested and adapted slightly by Deanna Fox for the Times Union. It makes about 30 cabbage rolls.

3 pounds mixture of ground beef, pork and veal

1/2 cup uncooked rice

1 large head of cabbage

1/2 cup (one stick) butter

1 large green pepper, diced small

3 yellow onions, diced small

2 eggs

1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the center of the cabbage then boil the cabbage to loosen the leaves. Once softened (about 5 to 10 minutes), remove the cabbage from the boiling water, allow to cool, and pull the leaves off the head of cabbage to have individual cabbage "wrappers."

Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil then add the rice. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover, cooking the rice until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft.

While the rice is cooking, sauté the green pepper and onions in the butter over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs together, then using your hands, add the meat, rice, green peppers, onions, salt, pepper, spices and herbs and mix well. Place a large spoonful of this mixture on 1 cabbage leaf and roll the leaf over the filling, like a burrito, being sure to tuck in the loose ends. Continue until only a few cabbage leaves are left. Use these to line the bottom of a roasting pan or 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Put the cabbage rolls into the pan, being sure not to crowd too much (it is OK if they touch). Pour the tomato sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls. Bake the gołąbki for 2 hours. Serve hot or warm.

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