Halupki (Russian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

Difficulty: intermediate

Ahhh, this brings back childhood memories. I grew up in a small town in Russia and Babushka always used to make Halupki on cold winter days… oh wait, those aren’t my memories. Damn you Western spies! Any who, this recipe requires cabbage leaves. You can do that by boiling a cabbage head in water and peeling them off as they get soft. You also have to mix rice with ground meat to make more stuffing. Hence this dish has a special place in my heart. Stuffed cabbage roll variants are found in many countries, Polish Golumpki are similar except they use less rice and more meat and Macedonian Sarma use sour cabbage leaves instead. Lets begin!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrot, grated

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

500 grams ground beef

250 grams ground veal or pork

500 grams cooked rice

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp paprika

15 cabbage leaves with stems cut off

1 tomato, thinly sliced (optional)

1 can tomato soup

Dill for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes until they are soft.

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Now turn off the heat and add the rice, meat, salt, paprika, and pepper and mix well. You do not need to cook the meat right now since it will be cooked inside the cabbage. Ideally you should use your hands when it is cool enough to not burn your skin off.

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Now put a fistful of stuffing into a cabbage leaf, fold the sides inwards and roll up the cabbage very tightly. Place it in a heavy casserole dish that has a lid.

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Continue this step until you have finished all your cabbage leaves or stuffing. Slice some tomatoes and garnish them on top. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and bake the rolls covered for two hours. Make sure to oil the pan, otherwise it will stick to the bottom.

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While the rolls are baking, put the can of tomato soup in a pot and simmer until it reduces enough to look presentable. Take the rolls out of the oven and serve hot.

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Drizzle a little tomato sauce on top and garnish with dill. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. This dish is Russian in origin so it pairs well with vodka, or Kompot if you are under 12.

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Enjoy!

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