When my family gets together, someone’s showing up with a giant pot of Halupki’s.
It’s a family tradition and they’re incredibly comforting to my grandfather, who lost his wife of over 50 years not too long ago. Since then Matt and I have been making meals for my grandfather (93) every week. We thought we’d make some stuffed cabbage for him this week. His diet is pretty restrictive, due to a kidney condition, so tomatoes are a “splurge.” We modified the traditional recipe to not include as much tomato and modified the volume of rice with a smaller volume of quinoa (optional). I hope he’ll remember my grandmother and find the meal well worth the splurge.
Upon my last-minute request, Matt gave me some mumbo jumbo about 3 kids, my working late and not being able to fully stuff the cabbage… so we ended up with an amazing simplified version all the boys LOVED.
Recipe by Matt
You see if I had made real cabbage rolls, I’d be in the kitchen forever. In this version the boys chop a cabbage with me, I brown the meat and we let it cook down while we play.
3/4 lb. ground lamb*
3/4 lb. ground chuck or venison
1 Onion, medium dice
3 cloves minced garlic
1 head of green cabbage, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
cooked quinoa or cauli-rice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Brown the meat with the onions and garlic, stirring often to incorporate
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine
3. Put the lid on it and let it simmer on low for an hour
Options: If you’re not attempting to create classic Halupki flavor, I was thinking you might make it spicy with some red pepper flakes. Also, some fresh herbs would have been nice; some basil, some bay leaf, and maybe some oregano.
*Our family loves to use ground lamb; it adds a depth of flavor and is assuredly pasture raised from our local farmer and butcher. If you’re not a huge fan of lamb, it’s a good way to get in the powerful nutrients without overwhelming flavor. Or… just use pork or beef!