Ukraine

Dish

Ukrainian cabbage rolls, these are a favourite of Ukranian children and are fun to prepare. Typical Ukrainian cabbage rolls can be made from either pickled or parboiled cabbage leaves. Fillings traditionally contain rice only, since the typical peasant diet was largely vegetarian due to the higher cost of meat. In this updated version of a traditional dish fresh cabbage leaves are used and the filling is meat based. Vegetarian versions can be easily made by leaving out the meat and increasing the quantity of rice along with chopped mushrooms and herbs.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup medium grain white rice (3 cups cooked)
  • ½ red capsicum, finely chopped
  • ½ green capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sized carrot, finely grated
  • 500g pork mince
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 medium sized green cabbage
  • I tin chopped tomatoes
  • Knob of butter

Method

  1. Cook the rice to about three-quarters done.
  2. Drain and set aside to cool completely.
  3. Over a medium heat, fry the onion in a little olive oil and butter until soft and golden.
  4. Add the capsicum, carrot and garlic and stir to combine then remove from heat.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the cold rice along with all the remaining ingredients (except the cabbage) and mix very well.
  6. Core the cabbage and immerse in a pot of boiling water.
  7. As the whole cabbage head cooks, remove cabbage leaves one at a time using tongs. After you have removed a leaf, trim the main vein to ensure the leaf lies completely flat on a plate. Pile each leaf atop the other.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C. One at a time, place a cabbage leaf, inside facing up, on a flat surface with the stem closest to you.
  9. Heap 2 tablespoons of the filling (adjust according to the size of the leaf) at the core end forming a sausage lengthways.
  10. Roll to half way and then fold in the edges and continue to roll to form a cigar shape.
  11. Repeat with the remaining filling and cabbage leaves.
  12. Arrange the holubsti, stem side down, in a shallow baking tray large enough to arrange them snugly as one layer so they retain their shape while cooking.
  13. Add a little chicken stock or water to the baking tray along with the tin of chopped tomatoes and a good knob of butter and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 50 minutes or until the meat is cooked through – check by cutting a holubsti in half.