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Diana Henry's golubtsi
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2 large white cabbages
2 tbsp olive or groundnut oil
Soured cream, to serve
Chopped dill, to serve
For the filling
½ tbsp olive or groundnut oil
300g mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
175g minced lamb
200g cooked brown rice
Generous grating of nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
For the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil or groundnut oil
1 onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
160g Tiptree Wild Cranberry Sauce
1. Remove the outer leaves from the cabbages and core each one (while leaving the cabbages whole). Be careful as you do this.
2. Bring about 10cm of water to the boil in a very large saucepan (or cook both cabbages at the same time in two large saucepans). Put the cabbages in the water, core-side down. Cover with a lid. After 5 minutes remove the lid. You’ll see that the outer leaves are starting to slip off. Take the cabbages out of the water and carefully peel these away with tongs (wear kitchen gloves to protect your hands from the heat). Return the cabbages to the pots and cook for another 10 minutes, then repeat the process. You need 24 leaves. Use the rest of the cabbage for soup, or another dish.
3. Heat the butter and oil for the filling in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms briskly. You want them to get a good colour. They will release liquid and you need to cook them until this evaporates. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool, then add the other filling ingredients, season and mix well with your hands.
4. If any of the cabbage leaves have a firm rib, you can either remove it and lay the two halves, slightly overlapping, on your work surface, or you can shave off some of the rib to make the leaf flatter and more pliable. Lay about 1½ tbsps of filling at the base of each leaf, then roll it up, tucking in the sides of the leaf as you go. You want to end up with a fairly neat parcel (don’t fret if they’re a bit messy).
5. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan and, over a medium heat, sauté the onion and carrot until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the remaining sauce ingredients and 200ml water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook for 25 minutes. You want to end up with a thick sauce, but not a dry one, so add extra water if needed. Spread one-third of the sauce in the base of a large baking dish or casserole.
6. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. You can now fry the cabbage rolls or leave them as they are (the caramelisation on the leaves adds to the flavour). If you want to fry them, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add half the rolls and cook them until golden on one side, then flip over and cook the other side. As each batch of rolls is ready lay them on top of the sauce. Pour over the rest of the sauce, cover (with foil if you’re using a baking dish, with a lid if you’re using a casserole) and bake for 1 hour. Lower the temperature to 170ºC, gas mark 3 and bake for another hour.
7. Serve the rolls with a bowl of soured cream and chopped dill. You really don’t need anything on the side – the cabbage leaves have everything.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in December 2019.