Gołąbki is a traditional Polish dish that we make year round. As they are quite time consuming, I make a lot at once and freeze any leftover to heat with a fresh tomato sauce another time. Gołąb means dove or pigeon in Polish, the dish is named so for its resemblance to a group of resting birds!
For the Gołąbki:
1kg lean meat (I have used a mixture of pork and beef), diced
2 tablespoons margarine
2 onions, finely diced
1 small fresh red chilli, halved lengthways and deseeded
3 bay leaves
4 – 5 allspice berries
1 large white cabbage
400g rice, cooked to packet instructions
Scissors and string
For the tomato sauce:
1 litre stock
150ml single cream
2 teaspoons flour
3 – 4 tablespoons tomato purée
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of margarine in a deep pan and fry the meat with half the chopped onion and a pinch of salt until golden brown. Add 500ml hot water, the bay leaves, allspice berries and the chilli. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and transfer to the simmering oven to cook for 2 – 3 hours, until the meat is tender (you can cook it oven a very gentle heat if you prefer not to use your oven).
2. In the meantime, bring a large pan of water to the boil and submerge the whole cabbage in it. Cook for 30 minutes until the outer leaves are easily removeable from the body of the cabbage. Set aside and allow it to cool while the stew cooks.
3. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, spear it through the core with a fork, score through the root of each leaf and use a large serving spoon to ease the leaves away from the body taking care to rip them as little as possible. When the stew is ready, stir through the remaining chopped onion and remove the bay leaves, chilli and allspice berries. Add the rice to it and mix well.
4. Stuff the cabbage leaves with the mixture, folding them firmly and securing with string. Your Gołąbki are now ready to cook. Heat the remaining tablespoon of margarine in a wide casserole. Fry the Gołąbki until browned on each side. Meanwhile warm the litre of stock and season with tomato puree, Maggi seasoning, salt and pepper. Whisk the flour and cream together in a small bowl before adding to the stock and whisking to eliminate any lumps.
5. Cook over a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until thickened slightly. Add the Gołąbki, bring the sauce to a boil, cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Serve Gołąbki on their own or with mashed potatoes.