Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Ba Ba's Halupki a.k.a. Stuffed Cabbage

If you are a reader to my first blog, I know you have already seen this recipe. Please bear with me because when I was deciding what recipe to share to post on my new blog first, this immediately came to mind. First, because it's my favorite food and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Second, because with the weather getting warmer and it's definitely comfort food. And lastly, it tops the list of most searched items on my other blog. So it was a no brainer to share this. Now before you look at this recipe, some of the pictures are blurry. I am not a photographer, but I am working on that. So in the meantime, I'm sorry. I also will probably not be sharing step by step pictures of all my recipes. I will do it if I feel it's necessary to help you in the cooking process or if the mood strikes me. Who knows. You'll just have to stay tuned to find out. Now...onto the recipe!

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'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.

I know this is blurry but can you see that I added the salt and the pepper? I know, I'm bad. I don't measure those either. I can tell you this. I add more pepper than salt. I barely use salt in anything I cook.
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!
Again, you'll see me using no measuring device here. I know, I know, I'm a naughty girl. Throw caution to the wind and just squirt! But be sure you are using Heinz ketchup! Hey, what did you expect from me? I'm a Pittsburgh girl! There is NO other ketchup!
Now mix everything together really well.
Oh heck! It's my dinner! I'm using the best utensils God gave 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....
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

1 large head of white cabbage or 2 small (I like two small because the cabbage is more tender)
2 lbs. ground meat
1 c. white rice (not instant)
3 cans tomato soup
2 eggs
salt & pepper (a few shakes of each)
2-3 T. dry minced onion

~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.

Thanks for visiting my kitchen!


linda t said...

Oooh, I LOVE cooking blogs!! I am excited to get back to cooking once it cools off here!
Good for you on your new blog. I will enjoy visiting often!

ACM said...

Wow. This looks so good. I just recently discovered I actually like cabbage. I'm totally going to make this.

Anonymous said...

This looks just right, only one question, I thought that traditional halupkis had ground beef and ground pork.

Anonymous said...

just put mine in oven let you know how they taste

Anonymous said...

Thanks they came out just like my mama used to make

Rachel said...

Thank you for your recipe. I have been looking for a well explained Halupki recipe to make for my husband and my 1 yr old son. My husband is PA Dutch and I am not! I wanted to learn how to make a good Pennsylvania dish for my son so he can enjoy the things that my husband did growing up. Thank you for your great lesson on Halupki!

Ashlee Woollis said...

Good recipe, but my boyfriend will not eat the cabbage. He likes the filling made into meatballs with no cabbage. I have tried adding breadcrumbs to thicken and keep the mix from falling apart when made into meatballs, but no matter how much I add, it doesn't work. Any tips on how to fix this?

Anonymous said...

John and Bev Bendrick or
10013 E. Alberta Ct.
Chesterfield, VA 23832..

Love the sight,,,,thank you.
My Ba'ba was in Treskow, was so nice to see the name I called my grandmother....thanks for the old school. My the Lord be with you and your family.

John Bendrick

Swidgen said...

I can tell your halupki are wonderful, because it's nearly the exact same one my Polish mother used! I was so excited to see your recipe. I live in PA and I can't even find them as good at the many ethnic church picnics that serve them around here. There's only some slight differences in the way I make them. No onion. I cook my rice first. Add 1 can of sauerkraut to the pot. And instead of ketchup, I use tomato juice mixed with the Campbell's tomato soup. I have a dutch oven full of them baking right now!!

Marianne (Piquet) Massey said...

I'm from Beaver County, but haven't lived in PA for nearly 30 years. One of the things I miss the most is the food. Anyway, I had the urge to make some stuffed cabbages, but wanted to find a recipe that sounded good to me.

I found your recipe, and when I saw the part about adding the Campbell's tomato soup, it reminded me of my grandmother's stuffed pepper recipe, which also uses the soup as an ingredient. The meat mixture is nearly the same, except it doesn't use eggs.

My grandmother was from Duquesne, but came from a German family, so I guess she got the recipe from a neighbor or something. Also, instead of the Heinz ketchup, she used a small can of tomato paste. Adding the Heinz ketchup is definitely a Pittsburgh thing (we put it on top of our meatloaf before baking), but I wonder where the idea of using the soup came in. I'd be interested to find out if anyone else knows where using the soup as an ingredient originated from.

So glad I found your blog!

James said...

Thanks for the halupki takes me back to my PA upbringing. My mom would make many Polish/Slavic dishes and I didn't know the difference from standard cuisine. It was only when friends would come over at dinner time and ask, "phew...what's she making?". I'd say 'halupki...don't you eat halupki?' I'd get blank stares.


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