This is a very common household dish in Russia and other Eastern European countries that goes back quite a while. As with most other household dishes, there are many different recipes having different fillings, sauces, etc. This recipe is the one that is prepared in my family and the results are quite good.
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 2 lbs ground meat (pork, beef, chicken, lamb, in any combination)
- 1 medium-large onion – chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of white rice – washed
- 6oz can of tomato paste
- Sour cream
- Salt, Pepper, sugar and your favorite seasoning
Firstly, prepare the filling for the golubtsi. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, egg, salt, pepper, rice, and the seasoning (we used cayenne pepper and vegeta).
Now you have to prepare the cabbage leaves by softening them in boiling water.
Cut out as much of the core of the cabbage as you can. You won’t need this part, and it will make it easier to remove the leaves later.
Bring a large pot, filled half way with water, to a boil (putting more water in will make the pot overflow).
Use two forks to pierce the cabbage at the bottom, it will make handling the hot cabbage a lot easier. We used a special tool we made which is essentially a serrated, pointy stick. Place the cabbage into the pot and boil for about 10 minutes. You’ll be looking for the outer leaves to get soft.
Carefully remove the cabbage from the pot (be very careful, it’ll be dripping with scolding hot water) and place in a large plate. Carefully remove all the soft leaves. Once you get down to the layers that are still hard, put the head of cabbage back in the boiling water. Repeat until you’ve removed all of the large usable leaves.
After you’ve gotten enough soft leaves, you may need to cut out the hard parts of the leaves at their bases. Alternatively you can soften those parts using a meat mallet.
Now, take about 1 tbs of the filling and place inside the leaf. Wrap the filling such that you have only 1 layer of cabbage surrounding it, cut off the excess cabbage. Do this for the remaining golubtsi
In another large pot now, line the bottom of the pot with one large sheet of the cabbage. Stack the golubtsi inside this pot in layers. Coat each layer in a thin coat of mayonnaise.
In the bowl you used for mixing the filling, combine the tomato paste and a table spoon of sour cream with 2-3 cups of water, 1 tea spoon of salt, and a table spoon of sugar (adjust to taste). Mix this until uniform and relatively thin. Pour over the golubtsi and add more water to the pot until the golubtsi are almost submerged.
Cover the pot, and place on the stove on high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and cook for 1.5-2 hours. The filling should be cooked through and the cabbage leaves soft enough to melt in your mouth.
And you’re done! Serve warm with the sauce they cooked in and a spoon of sour cream.