Cabbage Roll Sausage - Polish

A cabbage roll is a traditional dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. It may be considered a sausage as well, as the leaf acts as a casing. It has been produced this way in a number of countries and it is often called a sausage, for example German White Cabbage Sausage - Weiꞵkrautwürstchen. Polish dish called “Gołąbki” may be considered a sausage as well as the filling is wrapped in cabbage leaves. The sausage is made with ground meat, precooked rice and onions, which are usually slowly fried in oil until golden. It may be served with tomato or mushroom sauce or none at all. Stuffed cabbage rolls are popular in at least 50 countries so it comes as no surprise that the recipes vary depending on region as well as the choice of sauce for serving. Tomato, mushroom, sweet and sour sauces are popular, sour cream goes well, too. There is not one rule governing the proportion of meat to rice or using barley or buckwheat groats instead. Local or family preference dictate the size or composition of a cabbage roll. It is one of those easy to make foods that always turns out great.
MaterialsMetricUS
Pork shoulder650 g1.44 lb
Cooked rice150 g0.33 lb
Medium size onion200 g2 onions
Whole white cabbage1 cabbage1 cabbage
Chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon500 ml2 cups
Tomato sauce600 g20 oz fl
General purpose flour20 g1 Tbsp
Salt6 g1 tsp
Pepper1.0 g1/2 tsp
Oregano, dry1.5 g1 tsp
Paprika1.0 g1/2 tsp
Thyme1.0 g1/2 tsp
Instructions
  1. Cook rice, let it cool. Don’t overcook. You need about 70 g (2.5 oz) of dry rice plus water.
  2. Chop onions finely, then fry in a little fat on medium heat until golden, but not brown.
  3. Grind meat through 10 mm (3/8”) plate.
  4. Mix ground meat, rice, onions and all spices together. Form flattened balls the size of an egg.
  5. Cut out the conical shaped core from the bottom of the cabbage. Place the cabbage bottom side down in a large pot of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the cabbage around and cook for 5 minutes more or until the leaves can be separated by hand. Take the cabbage out and separate leaves one by one. There is a kind of thick white vein in the middle of each leaf which should be trimmed down with a knife to facilitate wrapping later on. Were the cabbage leaves not precooked they would break apart when trying to fold them over the meat.
  6. Place the leaf flat with white veins pointing down like the South direction on compass. Place meat patty on the bottom of the leaf then fold sides over towards inside. Start rolling the leaf tightly starting from the veiny bottom side (South) towards the top (North). Turn the roll so that the finished end lies on the bottom.
  7. Pour any remaining water out of the pot and place some broken or leftover leaves at the bottom. This layer will isolate cabbage rolls from the heat and will prevent them from sticking to the pot. Sometimes a few slices of bacon are added. Place the first layer of the cabbage rolls on the bottom. Then add the second layer of cabbage rolls on top of the first one. Then the third. You could optionally place leftover cabbage leaves between the layers as they taste good when cooked in sauce or fried.
  8. Mix tomato sauce with meat or vegetable bouillon and pour over the cabbage rolls until they are just immersed in it. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on low heat for 90 minutes.
  9. Baking in the oven is another method of cooking cabbage rolls. Place some broken or leftover leaves at the bottom. This layer will isolate cabbage rolls from an excessive heat. Place the first layer of the cabbage rolls on the bottom. Then add the second layer of cabbage rolls on top of the first one. Then the third. You could optionally place leftover cabbage leaves between the layers and on the top as they will good when cooked in sauce or fried. Cover the pot with the lid. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), insert the pot and bake for 50 minutes. The cabbage leaves should be soft, if not, bake longer. Mix tomato sauce with meat or vegetable bouillon and pour over the cabbage rolls, then bake uncovered for additional 20 minutes.
Notes
Sausages.When making cabbage roll sausages it is recommended to bake them without adding any sauce or bouillon as this will make them sticky and messy. The advantage of baking cabbage rolls is that there is no contact with water even when the cabbage leaf has not been sufficiently wrapped around the filling.
Some people don’t add bouillon or tomato sauce at all. The rolls are covered with 12 mm (1/2”) of water and boiled on medium heat for 30 minutes. Then they are served with a sauce or just fried in butter.
Serving. Cooked cabbage rolls are usually served hot immediately after cooking, however they can be placed in refrigerator and then reheated later for serving, usually by pan frying or baking what makes them brown and largely improves the taste of the cabbage leaves. This is due to Mallard reaction which occurs only at high temperature which is not high enough during boiling them in water. The cabbage leaves contain around 3% sugar which melts (caramelizes) at high temperatures at becomes brownish caramel which taste sweetish, like in caramel candy.

The above recipe should produce about 15 cabbage rolls.
Freshly stuffed rolls may be kept in refrigerator and then fully cooked before serving.
Cabbage rolls can be frozen.
Cabbage rolls are usually made with pork, rice and onions, but replacing rice with buckwheat groats or barley is practiced as well.
Leaves from White, Savoy or Chinese cabbages can be used, however, the White cabbage leaves are much bigger and wider what make them a better wrapping medium.
There are also other packing mediums for example Nham - Thai uncooked, fermented semi-dry sausage is wrapped in green banana leaves.

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