Polish food is one of my favorite types of cuisine to cook. When I do, I feel connected to my Polish roots. Plus, I love learning the names of the dishes and picking up a little Polish. Last New Year’s Day (pre-food blogging) I cooked up a Polish dinner with pierogies, kielbasa, and chlopski posilek (peasant’s bacon and cabbage) for a family dinner. It all turned out great, and I plan to make it again sometime.

Another reason I love to cook Polish food is that I love bringing back foods from my mom and dad’s childhoods. My mom has always talked about galumpkis, or stuffed cabbage. Both she and my dad love galumpkis, but unfortunately, my sister and I weren’t a huge fan of cabbage when I was younger, so it was never on the menu for dinner. Now I have learned to love cabbage. One day I was watching the Barefoot Contessa, and she made galumpkis. I knew I had to make these!

This recipe is a little time consuming, but it is worth it! These galumpkis are perfect comfort food, especially great for the fall and winter months.

Adapted from Ina Garten


For the Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
28 ounces crushed tomatoes in juice (recommended: Cento)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Meat Filling:
2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large head green cabbage


For the Tomato Sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the tomatoes and their juice, red wine vinegar, light brown sugar, kosher salt, and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer/warm, simmer the sauce uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, the sauce should be thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Meat Filling:
In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, eggs, onion, white rice, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a steamer basket on top.

Remove the core of the cabbage with a pairing knife. Pull off individual leaves. Be careful to keep leaves as in tact as possible. Place leaves in steamer basket in small batches. Steam for about 3-5 minutes, until soft and tender. Remove the hard triangular rib from each cabbage leave with a pairing knife.

In a large baking dish/Dutch oven, place 1 cup of sauce in the bottom. Place 1/3-1/2 cup of meat filling at the edge of each leaf. Roll the leave tightly around the filling, tucking in the sides. Place the galumpkis seam side down on top of the sauce. Repeat with other leaves. Once one layer of galumpkis is in the dish, add additional tomato sauce. Continue to do so until all filling and cabbage leaves are wrapped.

Cover the dish with a lid/aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, until the meat is cooked and rice is tender.

Serve galumpkis hot with tomato sauce and mashed potatoes. Serves 4.

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