Russian stuffed cabbage rolls (Golubtsi)
Cabbage leaves stuffed with a delicious combination of ground beef, pork, rice and vegetables. Russian cabbage rolls (a.k.a golubtsi) are cooked together in a creamy tomato sauce, using only a deep skillet or high quality pan like this one. Although it usually takes a long time to prepare these rolls, I found a trick that turns it into a quicker recipe. Making homemade stuffed Russian cabbage rolls has never been that easy!
I know golubtsi as a dish that’s -just like pelmeni and Olivier salad– very popular in Russia and is being served in almost every Russian fast food chain or restaurant. Whenever I am in Moscow, I never miss a chance to eat these tasty rolls. It’s a true comfort food, that I consider quite healthy too!
But whenever I am outside of Russia, I turn to this quick golubtsi recipe. Although it takes around 1 hour to cook, I managed to speed up the process by putting the head of cabbage in the freezer the night before making this recipe. This will result in perfect, pliable cabbage leaves that are ready to be rolled without being boiled first, as recommended in most of the traditional golubtsi recipes. This trick will save you quite some time.
*This post may contain affiliate links.
- The Rolls:
- 1 small head cabbage (about 700 gr)
- 125 gr minced beef
- 125 gr minced pork
- 50 gr dried (basmati) rice
- 100 gr carrots, finely grated
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/3 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 400 gr canned tomatoes
- 60 ml heavy cream
- 200 ml water
- For serving:
- Fresh dill, chopped
- Sour cream (optional)
- Cut out the core from the center of the cabbage and freeze the cabbage 1 or 2 days before you need it. The night before, defrost the cabbage and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking.
- Cook rice in plenty of water until al dente (the rice should not be completely cooked through yet). This would approximately be between 5-10 minutes after the water starts boiling. Drain and set aside.
- Sauté onion and garlic until golden brown, and set aside.
- To a medium bowl add: meat, mayonnaise, carrot, rice, onion mixture, smoked paprika and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Begin making the rolls by carefully peeling (about 14) cabbage leaves off, starting from the core, pushing it gently upwards. Cut out the stem at the bottom of the leaf where it is the toughest in a V shape.
- Place approximately 1 to 2 full tablespoons of meat mixture onto the wide end of the leaf. Fold sides over meat mixture, then fold the bottom of the leaf over the meat mixture and tuck underneath. Roll to seal.
- Repeat this step with all the leaves and meat mixture, and set aside.
- Now, sauté onion in a deep pan until golden brown, add canned tomatoes, water and cook for 4 minutes.*
- Whisk in cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Carefully place the rolled cabbage rolls seam side down in the pan, and bring to a simmer.
- Put the lid on the pan and let it simmer for about 40 minutes, until soft and cooked through. Check from time to time and lower heat if sauce thickens too quick or add a bit of water if needed.
- Cook the last 5-10 minutes without lid to thicken the sauce.
- Serve with dill on top and a scoop of sour cream.
* I highly recommend using a good quality pan like this one.
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I’m Jeanette, the blogger behind Lazy Home Cook.
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