Golubtsy (Stuffed Cabbage Leaves) is a very popular main dish in Russia. It is cooked for both everyday meals as well as for holidays.

Yield: 4 servings



  1. Core the cabbage. Blanch it in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and gently peel off the outer leaves. If the inner leaves are still too stiff to be removed, return the cabbage to the boiling water for another minute or so. Continue until all leaves have been removed. Use the small inner leaves or any damaged ones to line the bottom and sides of a 3-quart Dutch oven. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. To prepare the onions, mix them with the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Pour over enough of the hot water from the cabbage pot to just cover the onions. Bring to a boil and simmer slowly, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the water has evaporated and the onions are golden. Stir occasionally to make sure the onions don't stick to the pan.
  3. While the onions are simmering, prepare the filling. In a large bowl thoroughly mix together the ground beef (and veal, if any), raw rice, carrot, garlic, fennel, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir in the egg, blending well.
  4. Starting with the largest leaves, take a cabbage leaf and place a mound of filling along the center. Tuck up the bottom edge of the leaf first, then roll and tuck until the filling is completely enclosed in the leaf. Continue until all the filling has been used. There will be about 12 rolls.
  5. Place half the rolls in the cabbage-lined pot in a single layer, seam-side down. Cover with half of the prepared onions, then top with the remaining cabbage rolls and the rest of the onions.
  6. In a medium-sized saucepan heat the tomatoes, pressing with the back of a spoon until they begin to give off juice. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Pour over the cabbage rolls. The chunks of tomato will form a layer on top.
  7. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.