Stuffed Cabbage

Posted by Brette in Food

On Wed Nov 5, Martha made stuffed cabbage with Jane Krakowski. Stuffed cabbage, as Martha pointed out, is a traditional Polish dish called golabki. I’m not Polish, and neither is Mr. MarthaAndMe, but we live, and were raised, here in Buffalo, NY which has a large Polish population. My father’s family lived on the east side of Buffalo and they had many Polish neighbors and friends. Mr. MarthaAndMe’s father is from the south side, where there was an equally large Polish influence. There’s a popular restaurant here called The Polish Villa and we also have the Broadway Market, which is a market many people visit at Christmas and Easter for Polish specialties. So, we’re no strangers to Polish food and traditions here.

That being said, I’ve never had stuffed cabbage. I know my grandmother is rolling her grave at that (sorry Gram!).  So when I saw Martha cook this up with Jane, I thought, I’ve got to try it! This was also convenient, since I had a half a head of cabbage left over from when I made fried rice (sometimes I chop up cabbage and add it to the rice). Let me say that using a half a head is not ideal, since I didn’t get as many

The filling

The filling

nice full leaves as I wanted, but it worked out ok. I had some filling left over (since I didn’t have enough leaves) and I just froze it.

I think maybe I needed to cook the cabbage longer. I was able to get the leaves off, but it was really crisp. As it was, it seemed like it took forever to cook the cabbage, wait for it to cool enough to take off some leaves, then put it back in, cool again and take off another one or two leaves. I was a little impatient!

For the filling, Martha says to use rice and ground pork and ground beef. I had ground turkey, so I used that (I am substituting that often and I add some Worchestershire sauce to give it some flavor and it works out great). I also happened to have a container of quinoa in my freezer that was already cooked, so I decided to use that in honor of Martha’s piece in the November issue of Living about using different grains. I added some cheese to my filling also, I must admit (I love cheese and really what other than chocolate does not go well with cheese?).

Rolling up the leaves was a challenge since some of mine were not full size. I

Cabbage origami

Cabbage origami

also think that if my cabbage had been softer, they would have rolled more easily. Having seen Martha do it on the show made it easy for me to understand how to roll it. I think if I had not seen the episode I wouldn’t have known how to roll it (I am very spatially challenged!).

I did line the bottom of my pot with some outside leaves from the cabbage as Martha recommended. Ok, I’ll confess that I cheated again on the sauce. I used some jarred spaghetti sauce and

In the pot

In the pot

added water to it. I just don’t think tomato paste mixed with water is very appetizing. I added the pieces of apple, which sounded weird to me. I cooked this for one hour, as directed. The cabbage was not soft enough! It needed to cook longer. Other than that, I have to say I really liked this and it surprised me! I didn’t know if I would, but it was very tasty and something different to make. The apples gave it a nice flavor and this dish did not have that nasty cabbage taste you sometimes imagine. I froze what was left (enough for

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

another meal) and will cook it longer when I defrost it, to get those leaves nice and soft. This was a good thing! Thanks, Martha for expanding my horizons. I also must add that I believe this to be a true Martha recipe (since she clearly was raised on this stuff). I’m coming to believe many of the recipes in the magazine have never been tasted by Martha which explains why they are not up to snuff. It’s understandable – she’s a busy woman, but it’s also contradictory for someone so committed to “good things.”

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2 Responses

  • Teapot says:

    You made me laugh with the origami comment! Really cleaver.

  • Can’t you just see Martha doing origami with cabbage though? “And here is a bee-yoo-tiful crane made from this lovely, fresh cabbage leaf!”

    Of course after making this, Martha’s got some stuffed cabbage recipes in the Dec issue of Living and there she says if your cabbage leaf is too small, to layer 2 together! Why didn’t I think of that????