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.
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
- 1/2 cup cauli-rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the meat with the onions and garlic, stirring often to incorporate
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine
- 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!