Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Gołąbki - Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This week, Match.com are looking for Christmas Polish recipes that you could make for your date.  In response to this, I have created a vegetarian version of the Polish classic dish – Gołąbki.

Gołąbki (go-lom-b-ki) are stuffed cabbage rolls which are served with a sauce, either as a standalone course or as a side dish.  As well as being served all year round, they are a popular feature in the hugely celebrated Polish Christmas Eve evening banquet – ‘Wigilia’ which is made up of 12 dishes.

Literally translated, Gołąbki means ‘little pigeons’ because when made and placed in a roasting dish for the final stage of cooking, they look like little pigeons all huddled up together.  Beef/pork mince is the most popular filling for Gołąbki, but my vegetarian version is made up of long grain/wild rice and mushrooms with a béchamel style tomato sauce.

It is the perfect dish to serve on cold winter evenings and ideal if you are looking to offer your dining partner a taste of Poland – vegetarian style!

(Makes 10)

1 head of Savoy Cabbage
150g Long Grain/Wild Rice (this combination can be purchased at supermarkets)
15g Dried Mushrooms (plus 240ml Hot Water)
200g Chestnut Mushrooms (chopped into small, fine pieces)
Vegetable Stock Cube (for the rice)
1 Onion (chopped into small, fine pieces)
Oil (for frying)
Salt and Pepper (for seasoning)
A Squeeze of Lemon Juice

A Splash of Dessert/Sweet Wine

Tomato Sauce:
1 small finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon Rapeseed oil
1.5 tablespoons Plain Flour
240ml Cold Vegetable/Mushroom Stock (use the mushroom water from the dried mushrooms plus a little extra vegetable stock)
2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
Salt/Pepper/Sugar (to taste)

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover in 240ml of hot water.  Allow to infuse for at least an hour to allow the mushrooms to hydrate.

Cut 10 leaves from the cabbage head and scrub each leaf thoroughly clean in cold water.

Place the leaves in a large saucepan, cover with water and boil until the leaves are soft and cooked through but are still pliable.

Cook the rice as per packet instructions.  In addition in the rice water, dissolve a vegetable stock cube so that the rice will have extra flavour.

Whilst the cabbage leaves and rice are cooking, in a separate frying pan heat some oil and fry the chestnut mushrooms and the onion.

Carefully take the re-hydrated mushrooms from their liquid (but keep the liquid for later).

Chop the re-hydrated mushrooms into small pieces and add to the other mushrooms/onion in the frying pan.

Fry together and season with salt, pepper, dessert wine and lemon juice.

Once the mushroom/onion mix has fried through, add to the rice (once that has been cooked) and mix thoroughly.

At this point, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (or equivalent).  Prepare a roasting dish with a little splash of oil ready for the gołąbki.

On a chopping board, lay down a clean tea towel or a sheet of kitchen towel.

Using tongs, carefully take a cabbage leaf from the saucepan and lie it down stalk-side down.

Using another tea towel or kitchen towel, absorb the excess water from the leaf.

In the dip of the leaf, place a good spoonful of the rice/mushroom mixture. 

Then fold the leaf to make a ‘parcel’ shaped roll as follows:  *Fold the edge nearest to you over the mixture.  *Fold the left edge into the centre.  *Fold the right edge into the centre.  *Roll the whole parcel over away from you and the parcel should be a neat package.  But don’t worry if a little rice falls out.

Place the parcel in the roasting pan fold-side down.

Repeat the process until all the leaves are used.  Any rice left over can be eaten for another occasion.

To Make the Sauce:

In a saucepan, fry the onion in some oil.
Stir in the plain flour and vegetable/mushroom stock and whisk.
Add the tomato puree plus salt, pepper and sugar to taste and mix together.

Pour the sauce over the gołąbki in the roasting pan and then place in the oven for 20 minutes so that it all warms through together.

Serve hot with lots of love!

Disclosure:  I was re-imbursed by Match.com (Polish dating section) to cover my expenses to create the meal.  This post was written honestly without bias.  Please  note that I am not affiliated with Match.com and neither do I endorse their services.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 

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