Stuffed Cabbage Rolls ~~ Same Great Taste, Way Less Effort

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Polish and German Cooking


My father's family were of Polish and German extraction. They grew cabbage in their gardens, made huge wooden tubs of sauerkraut, and my father's Bopcia ( Bop' chuh - grandmother) placed a steaming platter of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls on the supper table (dinner was the word fancy people used - they wren't terribly fancy, just solid folks) on a fairly regular basis. Needless to say no one ever complained.


When my father and his immediate family immigrated to America, of course the recipe came with them. So I grew up eating my Bopcia's cabbage rolls and she taught my mother how to make them and she taught me in turn. Our entire extended family loved them, but they are a lot of work and take a long time to prepare.

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From Generation to Generation



At some point in my teenage years, my mother introduced the family to a new - old cabbage casserole. She named it Jacek's Cabbage Goulash in honor of my father (Yah' tsek). In no time at all it became a family favorite and I don't think she ever made cabbage rolls again. Why would she? This casserole provides you with all the flavor and nutrition of cabbage, onions, and tomatoes, with almost none of the work.


My grown sons, now in their thirties, still occasionally reminisce and remember it fondly - their respective wives are kind of not the "cabbage - cooking" type. Although, I will give them credit - all three of my daughters-in-law make excellent coleslaw (and many other wonderful things as well). :) Writing about this has made me realize how long it has been since I made my father's cabbage goulash. Before it warms up any more I should make it and invite the family over. :)


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Here is what you need - Ingredients


1 1/2 to 2 lbs lean ground beef

2 small or 1 very large head of cabbage

2 medium onions (any kind)

1 small package of grated carrots (optional)

2 to 3 cans diced tomatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsps paprika (preferably Hungarian Paprika)

2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup water


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Here is what you do.


Chop cabbage. Put cabbage and carrots and 1 cup water in a large dutch oven. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place on medium heat. The goal is to wilt and cook the cabbage, but stir frequently to prevent cabbage from scorching. Add small amounts of water if and when needed.


Put 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, break up ground beef with a spoon and begin browning. When beef is halfway done add two coarsely chopped onions. Stir well and continue cooking over medium heat until meat is well done and onions are translucent. Turn off the heat and add all the spices to the frying pan and stir well.


Add the beef and onion mixture to the dutch oven and stir well. Add 2 or 3 cans diced tomatoes to the dutch oven and stir well (this is all about your families palette -- do they prefer a mild tomato taste or a strong tomato taste -- add two cans and cook awhile, then taste before adding the third can of diced tomatoes).


This should have taken about 30 - 45 minutes so far. You will need to continue simmering the Goulash for another 30 - 60 minutes. Keep the lid on if the mixture is thick and crack the lid if there is a lot of liquid and you want to cook it down. How do you know when the Cabbage Goulash is done and how long to continue simmering? Well it depends on your personal taste.


(1) Do you and your family like your cabbage to be a little bit crunchy, not quite done? Less Time Cooking. Do you like the cabbage really well done and tender? More Time Cooking.

(2) Do you want the goulash to have lots of liquid, a soup consistency? Less Time Cooking. Do you want your goulash to be thick like a stew (or a goulash)? More Time Cooking.


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Here is what you serve it with.


You should end up with a dutch oven 3/4 of the way full. What do your serve it with? Well, to stay true to the ingredients in Stuffed Cabbage rolls, you can serve it with plain white rice. Be sure and start the rice while the goulash is cooking so they it be ready at about the same time.


However, if you or your people hale from the Old Country, especially Northern Europe, then you will want to serve Cabbage Goulash with simple boiled or mashed potatoes and a loaf of Pumpernickel or Rye Bread. For those of you who just said to yourself, "two starches and no other vegetables?"


First, quit talking to yourself, not a good sign. Second, this goulash consists entirely of protein and four low calorie / low carbohydrate vegetables -- cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and carrots. Choose potatoes or a dark flavorful bread ... or choose both. Either way it is still a healthy and delicious meal. This will serve 8 to 10 people and leftovers freeze very well. [You can of course divide this in half or double it if you are feeding twenty people]


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Variations on Jacek's Cabbage Goulash


I would try these suggestions one at a time; I would not do all of them at the same time:


You could add some minced garlic and a little bit of cayenne pepper.

You could add one finely chopped bell pepper, if that suits your taste.

You could add one finely chopped zucchini to increase vegetable content.

You could use 4 to 6 cups chopped fresh tomatoes from your garden.

You could use 1 lb ground pork and 1 lb ground beef.

You could use 2 lbs Kielbasa (Polish Sausage), slice and brown the sausage well.


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More by this Author


Comments Are Welcome and Appreciated 54 comments

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

Reading your recipe was fun (love the commentary about the recipe's history in your family), plus it made me hungry. I'll leave out the meat and add both bell pepper and zucchini, with the other ingredients left "as is. I'm glad it's cool this evening and that I have everything I need on hand.

Voted Up++

Jaye


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Jaye - Glad you had all the ingredients. And I think the bell pepper and zucchini will blend well with the other vegetables. So you are having "coo": weather too. This does make a lot, you can always cut it i half. but what am I telling you for? :) It is only very young and inexperienced cooks who get nervous about doubling or halving a recipe. You and I are old hands at that. :) Glad the family commentary was enjoyable, that is what makes doing a Hub on a recipe "fun" for me. Stay warm. Theresa


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

sounds delicious..Love cabbage and all the veggies you used. Going to pin this ..Thanks for sharing this recipe.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Theresa, I'm just here to give you support and wish you a great weekend. I absolutely will not eat cabbage. LOL

I hope the school year is progressing nicely...summer vacation soon, right?

blessings,

bill


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh, that's funny, Bill. :) I deeply appreciate the support and I realize that some people simply don't "do cabbage." I bet you like all the other ingredients and there are so many things to do with them. Speaking of school -- tomorrow is graduation. Then I have all of May off. Hooray!! I have lists and lists of things to do - if I manage a third of what's on my lists I will be happy. :)

I start teaching again in June, but its only two classes and two afternoons a week on an almost deserted campus, quiet, peaceful, no meetings, so it still feels like a vacation, but I can save whatever I earn for the next house or car repair crisis. :) You have a great weekend as well. Blessings! Theresa


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Wow, Theresa (phdast), that looks amazing! My mouth is watering right now and I have already had dinner.

Thanks for the great recipe and background too. Very interesting.

Voted up +++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


travmaj profile image

travmaj 3 years ago from australia

Hello again and thanks for this - my sort of food and I love the variations you suggest.

Cabbage is plentiful here right now and I can't wait to try it. Many years ago I had a Russian friend who gave me the best stuffed cabbage roll recipe.

I'm ashamed to say, I cannot find it. I was thinking about the dish the other day. so this recipe is timely and should bring the 'taste' back.

Mmmm -


Casimiro 3 years ago

My Ukrainian wife cooks these regularly, called golubtsi in Uke, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the recipe has a Polish origin with her family.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Evening, Carol. I hope you enjoy it, we certainly do. Thanks for pinning and sharing this hub. Have a great weekend/ Theresa


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

simple amazing and easy to follow I love the way less effort portion of this recipe....:)


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

Terrific recipe, Theresa! I certainly enjoyed my "five-star" dinner. I made a smaller batch than your family-sized recipe, but still have some left over for tomorrow's lunch. I'm one of those people who loves leftovers. They seem to taste even better after the flavors "marry."

Jaye


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Does this take me back. Thank you


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Frank - You and me both. Less effort is the way to go most of the time. It is cloudy, cold and drizzly here (In May, in Georgia?) Hope you have fairer skies and a great weekend. Thanks for reading and commenting. Theresa


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Theresa, looks great!...I really should eat more cabbage, this looks interesting and different, I also loved the family history.

Hope the sun is shining where you are, have a nice weekend.

Jo.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Faith. I ma glad the background was interesting. Starting with family history seems to be the only way I know how to get into a Recioe. :) Thanks for votingand sharing. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi travmaj - Nice to see your smiling face on a cold and rainy day in Georgia (normally we are in the upper eighties by now). Russian and Polish friends with recipes are valuable indeed. This may not taste like your friends, but I hope you will like it. And it has the virtue os ease and simplicity. Mmmmm is right. :) Theresa


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

The leftovers tasted pretty good for lunch today because the flavors, including seasonings, mingled overnight in the frig. The texture was a bit mushier, but that's something I don't mind in a stew or goulash. I will make this recipe again, Theresa, and thank you for sharing it.

Hope you're having a good (and cool) weekend. It stopped raining overnight here in central Mississippi, though the temperatures are lower than normal for May. I like "cool", though, and it will be hot summer soon enough!

Jaye


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Jaye - That is great. So glad it turned out well. You were smart to make a smaller batch. I almost put that in there -- Recipe can easily be doubled for a crowd or cut in half. I love leftovers too, and i do think the flavors meld. I am never unhappy when there is food leftover -- its just tomorrow's lunch or dinner -- and with no additional effort. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are very welcome Mhatter. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope your weekend is going well. :)


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Bopcia would be proud. My mother made both goulash and the cabbage rolls. To this day, I must have cabbage as much as possible.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Casimoro - Oh what a treasure of cooking traditions your wife and her family must have. I find there are a lot of similar dishes in northern Europe and what used to be the eastern USSR. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Polish and Ukrainian cooking is pretty similar with some slight differences based on what grows regionally. Thanks for commenting. Hope you are having a great weekend. :)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

How good this looks! I've never braved the rolls, but I think I could manage this. Since we'll be socked in with rain through Tuesday I believe I'll use this recipe on Monday. This weather has us indoors and at the stove, yes? Used Bill Yovino's Pasta e Fagioli recipe on Friday, and worked on my scones recipe today. Now I have something to look forward to! :) It was a pleasure to read of your family and the history with cabbage rolls. Why would she, indeed?!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I'm going to share this mouth-watering recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls with my family. This recipe is complimented by learning about your family. For me, history is a real bonus. Thanks!


MrsBrownsParlour profile image

MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

This sounds delicious! I've never made cabbage rolls myself but I love them. This ghoulash is a great recipe.

I voted "funny" in addition to useful and interesting and up because of this part: "For those of you who just said to yourself, "two starches and no other vegetables?" First, quit talking to yourself, not a good sign." :-D Polish cuisine is hearty! Thanks for sharing your family recipe. ~Lurana


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Jo - We should all probably eat more cabbage. Low calorie, high fiber, lots of vitamin C. The family history part is always fun, glad you liked it. Actually it raining, but that is OK -- we needed it and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and beautiful. I hope the coming week goes well for you. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Jaye - I am like you - on the soft side is OK for a soup or stew-like concoction. Glad the flavors held up.

Thank you for your good wishes and I do love cool weather and here in the South we, you and I, don't get nearly enough of it. (this has been a strange spring and usually May is much warmer. It was overcast and cool but I worked trying to restrain my unruly yard Thurs and Fri. Then Friday night it started raining and hasn't stopped yet. "They" say it should clear up tomorrow. :) And I "so" agree with you, "It will be hot (and terribly humid) soon enough!"

Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Afternoon aviannovice - She probably would be proud. What a nice thing to say. :) There are so many things to do with cabbage and it doesn't take that long to cook. :) Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great week. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good afternoon, RT. Of course you could manage this! I am a simplifier and I don't like complicated or too many steps. If I can do it, you certainly can. :) We are huddling indoors as well because it is rainy and rather cold for May, especially in the South. "The scone recipe looks wonderful." For me the best part is the little snippet of family history into which I insert a recipe. Exactly!! Why would she, indeed?! :) Have a wonderful week. Theresa


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Theresa,

My mouth is watering! I would cook it longer because I would prefer it like a stew rather than soup.

Voted up yummy and sharing.

Hope all is well and that you had a wonderful weekend. :)


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 3 years ago from Texas

I am going to have to try this one!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good early morning, vocalcoach. Mouth-watering is a great description. :) I hope you and your family enjoy this dish. Thank you for mentioning the family history.... I usually think of a recipe first, but then when I sit down to type the family history stuff comes first. History is always a bonus for me too. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi homestead. I hope you like it. It can be cut in half of course if you don't want or need a Dutch Oven full. Enjoy. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Lurana - Nice to hear from you and you are so very welcome. I am so glad you voted "Funny." I never was a comedienne or the class clown or laugh out loud funny, but I have my moments ... and usually when I write something clever or amusing, most people don't notice. I am sure it can't be me, it "must" be that most of my readers have no sense of humor. :)

Anyway, thanks for reading, voting, and commenting. I hope you have a great week. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Sue - You and me both. I like it best when it is thick and like a stew. I forgot to mention this in the hub I I was all focused on the Northern European thing), but actually this is very god paired with traditional corn bread or corn muffins. Although, I realize cornbread is not as popular in many parts of the country as it is in the South (don't know what made me think of this).

It was a wet and cloudy weekend, but I got all kinds of things done so that was good and one of my son's and his wife came over for dinner and then we played cards until we were tired and got very silly. :)

Thanks for commenting and sharing. :) Theresa


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Well, I'm not sure why your hub disappeared on the day I wanted to make the recipe, but I'm sure glad I had already snagged the ingredients! Our rainy Monday was the perfect day to make it. The soup version, with the garlic addition worked beautifully. I am amazed that I remembered the method so well. Guess that shows how interesting your hub is! :) Am really looking forward to seconds tonight--nice to have it all done so I can be busy with other things. Thanks again for a neat read and a great recipe. Pinned to my Ways w/ Food: Fruit/Veggies board.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi RT - Sorry about that. I have been battling with the moderators for the past four days. They found books on travel - Amazon Capsule - in Northern Europe unacceptable (even though Poland is in Northern Europe) and they objected to my suggesting people might want to view my hubs on Polish painting and sculpture. :( I kep arguing and they kept ignoring me -- finally I caved. :)

So glad you had the ingredients and remembered what to do. I am impressed. The soup version with garlic makes me want to go but the ingredients and make it right now. :) Hopefully, the leftovers tonight will be just as good. You are very welcome and thanks for all the kind words and the PIN. Have a great week. Theresa


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Fantastic recipes, and I always love something new. I enjoyed reading the story or history behind them, wonderful!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Nell - It is an old family favorite. I am glad you enjoyed the history behind it. I don't seem to be able to do a recipe hub without recounting some family history. Both my parents are gone now, maybe this is one of the ways I subconsciously remember them. Thanks for commenting. :) Theresa


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Oh Yum! When we were growing up we called them galupsti--I have a soft spot in my heart for this!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Yummy! This gets my attention! And I just bought a lovely head of cabbage, with no specific plans for it! All I need to get for it is the ground beef. Why didn't I get some when I was at the store? haha. I thought about it! Must have been a psychic moment! :-) Thank you, Theresa for a lovely recipe!

I've made stuffed cabbage rols - back in my days of serious cooking. haha. Now I go for the simpler approach!

(Now I'm also craving sauerkraut! My Germanic father liked it but my Anglo mother seldom served it. :-) However, I was in a very German family for awhile and it was a staple!

I also lived among German farmers at one point and they made turnip sauerkraut.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Audrey - I never heard them called that. Glad to know I am not the only one who has a soft spot. Hope all is well. Theresa


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I have never eaten stuffed cabbage rolls, but my wife says they are delicious, and this variation sounds great! I would add some red or yellow bell pepper though, the green ones I just can't eat. I will try this one. Thanks, Teresa!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh Nellianna - I hit the "simpler days" of cooking when I was 32 and returned to school to finish my Bachelor's degree. I was very active in my church, had three lively boys 7, 9, and 11, and then all the reading and homework of school --- something had to give---I made sure the boys did their chores and embraced simple, simple, simple cooking. :) Not sure I would have survived otherwise. :) I hope your cabbage and beef turns out well.

You did have a lot of German influence , didn't you. I like sauerkraut too, but turnip sauerkraut! Never heard of it! But I guess you can pickle or ferment most anything. Have a wonderful weekend. Theresa


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Yes, I'd say your schedule called for some serious 'trimming the fat' from the day's activities!

Actually, shredded turnips can be used for making slaw, because they have a flavor and a crispness rather similar to cabbage. I never tried any of the turnip sauerkraut, but it makes some sense.

You have a great weekend, too!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Jim - Done right, stuffed cabbage is quite wonderful, but a lot of work. I love getting all the flavor with a third of the effort. Actually, I like red, orange, and yellow peppers much more myself -- just wish they weren't so pricey. Any of them would blend really well with the other flavors. Happy cooking and eating. And you are very welcome. :)


cookie512 profile image

cookie512 3 years ago

Looks great! Check out this blogger i have been looking at http://forthetongue.webs.com/

it is great!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Nellieanna - Never heard of turnips being used for slaw. What an interesting idea. And the crispness would be nice. I hope you had a lovely weekend and have a great week ahead of you. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for commening cookiee. Have a great day.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I love cabbage dishes, and this one looks spectacular! I like that you told the story behind it, and gave variations. I plan on making this sometime. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us. Voted up!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Kathryn - Another cabbage lover, great! I wander away from a recipe so often,I thought I should include the variations in case other people cook the way I do. Of course variations are so helpful when you discover at the last minute that you are missing one of the ingredients. :) Thanks for reading, voting and commenting. Have a great weekend.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

You have no idea how much I love variations! I barely ever make a meal the same way every time, because I always like to base how I make it with what I have on hand or what I am in the mood for. And you're right, it's very helpful for those times you're missing an ingredient!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hy Kathryn - You are certainly a woman after my own heart. :) I love and use variations all the time, so much so that sometimes when a friend asks me for a recipe, I have a hard time coming up with the original. :) And working with what you have has all but become a lost art. Let's you and I revive it! Thanks for commenting. Theresa


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I'm excited about this one! My boyfriend and I love cabbage, so I'm always trying to come up with different ways to make it. I recently sliced it and roasted it in the oven, a la Martha Stewart. LOL. I like cabbage rolls, too, but I've never made them, and most of the ones I've had are kind of slimy. :-) This looks much easier and much tastier. I'm pinning to make later, the next time I get a head of cabbage. Love it! Voted up and more!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Victoria - First, thank you for the kind and generous fan mail. Much appreciated. Second, sounds like you and your boyfriend could be half Polish or German...both nations love cabbage, of course. I love the taste of cabbage rolls too, but when my three sons were small, I had to find a simpler, quicker way to enjoy the same flavors. I bet you will like this. Thanks for the votes and comments. :)

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