I love golubtsy! Whenever my mama makes these stuffed cabbage rolls she fills a huge cast iron pot with them, and we eat from it for a few days in a row. Golubtsy say “family”, “comfort food” and “home” to me.
I used to make them in Idaho for Russian dinners with Ben’s parents. I’ve cooked many golubtsy throughout this cold New York winter, I even order them in restaurants if they’re on the menu. The last never beats the taste and flavor of the real homemade cabbage rolls, but even knowing that, I can’t resist the temptation.
Traditionally, cabbage leaves are carefully separated and then boiled in salted water for a few minutes until soft. I rarely do this, which results in the rolls being harder to fold, but I manage. If you’re making golubtsy for the first time ever, I’d recommend boiling the leaves before rolling, you’ll find it easier.
After the leaves are stuffed, dust the golubtsy with flour and fry each on both sides in a hot pan with butter or fat before placing them into the pot for boiling or baking. I like this step because it leaves grilled marks on the rolls, but I also skip it whenever I don’t feel like waiting too long for dinner.
"Golubtsy" Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 1 large cabbage
- 1 cup medium grain white rice
- 1.5 lb ground meat (I use half pork, half beef, or 1/3 each beef, pork and veal)
- 1 egg
- a small bunch of parsley, nicely chopped
- 8oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sour cream, plus more for serving
- Salt, pepper
1. Rinse rice and cook in 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
2. (Optional) Fill half of a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Use a knife to pull off leaves from the cabbage and dip them into boiling water to soften. The leaves are done when they are soft and yellowish or dull green. Cool down and carve off thick stem at the base of each leaf.
3. In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, egg, 2/3 chopped parsley and 1/2 Tbsp. salt, pepper to taste.
4. Place about 2 Tbsp. stuffing on each cabbage leaf. Roll into an envelope, covering the filling with the leaf and tucking the right and left sides of the roll tightly inside.
5. Preheat oven to 350F.
6. In a large bowl mix together 2 cups of water, 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. of sour cream and an 8oz can of tomato sauce.
7. Place the rolls side by side into a dutch oven, pour the sour cream-tomato sauce on top, and add more water if necessary to cover golubtsy.
8. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 1/2h. Alternatively, they can be cooked on the stove: first bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
9. Serve hot with sour cream and parsley.