This recipe was inspired by my Polish grandmother who was also an inspiration to me in the garden. She made Polish stuffed cabbage rolls, traditionally known as Gołąbki, from her home-grown cabbages, with traditional meat and rice filling. But with a growing number of vegetarians in the family, we needed a meat-free option.
Credit goes to my husband for this recipe, who is the creative genius in our kitchen.
I recommend this recipe for a weekend cook-up or when you can take the time needed to prepare this special dish. The process is a little time-intensive, but worth it!
These cabbage rolls were traditionally cooked for festive occasions such as Christmas and weddings.
The tomato cream finishing sauce comes directly from my grandmother. There are many variations to this sauce but trust me, the unusual ingredient combination and quantities are indeed correct and the taste is sensational!
Makes: This recipe makes approximately 16 rolls, depending on the cabbage and feeds 6.
Cooking time: approx 1.5 hours + 2 hours cooking in the oven.
1 1/2 cups rice (Jasmine or other)
3 oz. (80g) butter
1lb (500g) finely chopped mushrooms
1 finely chopped onion
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
2oz (50g) dried porcini mushrooms (or shiitake), optional but will intensify the mushroom flavor.
3 1/2 cups (875ml) vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 large whole cabbage
1 can of condensed tomato soup
1 can of whole tomatoes
2/3 cup (150ml) of cream
2/3 cup (150ml) of Ketchup
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. The pot should be big enough to accommodate a whole head of cabbage.
2. Place the head of cabbage in the pot, put the lid on and cook for 7 minutes or until leaves have softened.
Meanwhile, you can start the filling.
3. Put a medium-sized pot on medium-low heat.
4. Add half the butter, the onion and garlic to the pot and gently cook until the onion is translucent. Remove the cooked onion mixture from the pot and set aside.
5. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the remaining butter. When melted, cook the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Blitz the dried porcini mushrooms in a small food processor for a few seconds until chopped finely.
7. To the cooked mushrooms in the pot, add the rice, cooked onion mix, porcini, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and the vegetable stock.
8. Mix to combine then bring to the boil.
9. When boiling, put a lid on and turn down the heat to the minimum for 12 minutes. Then turn the heat off but leave the pot on the hotplate for a further 10 minutes. It’s important not to open the lid at this stage. The lid keeps the steam in and continues the important cooking process.
10. When done, open the lid, cool for 10 minutes then add the parsley and mix.
11. Remove the cabbage from the pot and when cool enough to handle, carefully remove the leaves. Do your best to keep the leaves whole and undamaged. If the leaves become tough to remove, you may need to put the cabbage back in the boiling water for a further 5 minutes at a time.
Cut out part of the hard stem 1-2 inches (3-5cm) from each leaf. This will resemble a small removed triangle of the stem from the whole leaf, as shown in the photo below.
Now it’s time to fill the cabbage rolls.
12. Preheat the oven to 320f (160c).
13. Lay a cabbage leaf out, add 1/3 cup of the rice mixture. Fold in the sides, then the top, now the bottom to form a package. Repeat until you’ve used all the leaves and mixture.
14. Place the rolls in the casserole dish.
15. Blitz the whole tomatoes, add the condensed soup and mix. Pour this over the rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours or until the cabbage is tender and completely cooked through.
16. When ready to serve, combine the ketchup and cream in a small pot and heat until warm. Plate up your rolls and pour a little of the tomato and cream sauce over the top.
Tips: If cabbage leaves are too inflexible for rolling, pop them back in boiling water for a minute or two to soften them.
Small, unusable cabbage leaves can either be shredded and added to the filling rice and mushroom filling, placed beneath the rolls on the bottom of the casserole dish or saved for use in a different dish.
Note: You can freeze the rolls after step 13 and then continue through the steps at the time of cooking. By doubling this recipe, you will have plenty to freeze.
You might like to try our Basil And Corn Fritters Recipe.