This recipe if from my Ba Ba (my Polish/Slovak Grandmother) and the entire recipe is printed below but I'll start at the beginning here.
The participants: 1 large head of cabbage or 2 small, 2 lbs. of ground beef, 3 cans of tomato soup, ketchup, 2 eggs, minced dried onions, rice (not instant), salt and pepper.Take a big stock pot out of your cupboard and fill it 2/3 full with water. Place it on a big burner and turn it on high.
While that's boiling, grab your head of cabbage or cabbages. Take off those ugly dirty outside leaves. If you take off some of the dark green ones too, that's okay. They tend to be a little bitter.
Now go and grab a sharp knife. BE CAREFUL...don't cut yourself! I grabbed one of my new Chicago Cutlery that I received for my 15th anniversary at work last year. See, it's all shiny and new looking! Anyway, you'll need to cut out the core. Just keep putting your knife in and out until you make it all the way around.
See this is what it looks like. You want to do this so it makes it easy to peel off the leaves. They won't be attached to anything and will fall right off.
Now place the cabbage in the water. Wait! Do it carefully! That water is getting hot! I turn the head around to get some water in the hole that you cut out.
Now let's go and get started on the insides of the Halupki. Grab your favorite big bowl. I picked my Ba Ba's Pyrex one...it's my favorite. Break both pounds of ground beef up and place it in the bottom of the bowl.
Next let's throw in some minced dried onions. I put 2-3 tablespoons in the written recipe but as you can see, I use the palm of my hand and just throw them in. I'm sure some of you are thinking that fresh onions would be better here and if you want to use those, have at it. I know the juice of the onion is probably the best part but I personally like the hint of onion that dried onions offer. I don't want my Halupki being overpowered by fresh onions. Anyway, this is easier and this is how my Mom did it so that's how I'm doing it!
Don't forget to check on the cabbage! When it comes to a boil, turn it down so it barely keeps boiling. Mine came to a rolling boil because I was too busy trying to be a photographer!
Add your two eggs. Are you wondering how I took this picture? I used my chin to press the button. No really, I can not tell a lie! I used Curtis...he's my sweetie.
Now throw in that cup of rice. I did measure this as you can see. I usually mound my cup but this time I threw in a little more than a mounded cup. There was about an 1/8 of a cup left in the container and I figured what was the point of letting them sit in the container all by themselves.
Check your cabbage. Can you peel any of the outer leaves off yet? You might only be able to get a couple but that's okay. Just put them in a colander in the sink to drain and cool.
Ya baby! Come to Ma Ma!
Let's get back to the mix. Add 1 can of tomato soup. I only ever use Campbell's but be brave and go for whatever brand you want. I'm a chicken when it comes to my tomato soups so I'll stick to Campbell's, thank you!
Now mix everything together really well.
Oh heck! It's my dinner! I'm using the best utensils God gave me...my hands! Don't worry, I washed them before touching the raw meat...and BELIEVE ME...I washed them well afterwards with anti-bacterial soap. You should too!
Here it is. The finished mix. It's going to be a little wet than you probably expected but that's good. If it was a dry mixture, you would have hard little meat/rice balls inside. You need the moisture because the rice will suck it all up.
Hey! Wait! What is this? We are making Halupki...not Stuffed Peppers!
Okay, okay, I confess! I'm making them for Curtis. He's not really as crazy about Halupki as I am. He's crazy over stuffed peppers so I thought I would be nice and make him his favorite.
I'm taking a side road here. When you make stuffed peppers, just take the pepper and cut the top off. Take the insides out and wash the pepper inside and out. Fill it with the mix and voila! You've got stuffed peppers!
Let's get back on track here. It's hard to see in the picture but the leaves have this big thick vein where it was attached to the core. You will need to thin it out or it's very tough. Just grab a sharp knife and BE CAREFUL! Can you tell I'm afraid of people getting cut here?
See how easy this is? Don't cut the vein out altogether or you won't be able to assemble the Halupki. Oh, please ignore the fact that I'm cutting towards myself. You know you are not supposed to do that, right? Also did you know that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife? Yup, it is. When you use a dull knife, you need force behind the knife to cut through something and a sharp knife will glide through the item you are cutting. There. That's the extent of my culinary knowledge for the day! Are you impressed?
By the way, this would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
My little pile of veins. I don't know why I took a picture of this. I guess I'm just odd.
Now it's time to get assembling, baby! Open a leaf and set it down on the counter/plate/cutting board...whatever your little heart desires...with the vein part towards you. Place a little bit of the mixture on the end over the vein. Next fold the right and left sides in towards the center and....
.....ROLL! ROLL! ROLL!
After you roll them, place them in a roaster with the seam side down. I guess you could use a covered casserole or something else that's big. This recipe will make a good amount and you also want space for the sauce/juice. He he he. Look what I did with the stuffed peppers. I make a little square pan thingy with triple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. I didn't want that yucky stuffed pepper juice dancing with my yummy Halupki juice.
Next cover the little pretties with 2 cans of tomato soup. Now let's get that ketchup bottle again and squirt some more over the top. Please don't ask me how much...I don't know. I just kind of squirt in a zig-zag fashion. Technical isn't it? Oh, and here is where you want to pour about 3/4 of a can of water over the whole thing. I toss the water back and forth between the three empty cans of soup so I can rinse out all the goodness still left in the can that scraping didn't get.
Now cover the roaster and put it in your preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Oh my! Looky what we have here! Yum! I need to make these more often!
Cindi's Family's Halupki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) Recipe
~Cut core out of cabbage head and cover with boiling water in large stock pot. Boil cabbage until leaves begin to fall off the head with a little help from you. I stand at the stove and peel one leaf off at a time. Drain leaves. With a sharp knife thin out veins along the spine of each cabbage leaf. Do not cut the vein out.
~Mix together ground beef, rice, 1 can of tomato soup, eggs, minced onions, salt, pepper and not quite a 1/4 cup ketchup.
~Assemble cabbage rolls. Lay the leaf with the vein part towards you, put a little of the mixture on top of the vein, fold in the sides and then roll. There is no set amount to put in each leaf because the size of the leaves vary. Place in roaster with the seam side down. I place the larger ones around the outside of the roaster. I also cut up the remaining cabbage in approx. 1 inch squares and place on top.
~Pour the remaining tomato soup (2 cans) over the top of the cabbage rolls. There is no measurement to this but squirt ketchup over the rolls in a sporadic fashion. Not too much...don't cover the entire top...kind of like if you were putting chocolate syrup over a sundae. But make sure you put enough on it because it adds the "tang" to the tomato soup. Next pour a little more than 3/4 of a can of water over the entire mixture.
~Cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours at 350 degrees. If you make more than 2 pounds of ground meat, you'll need to cook it longer.