Cabbage Rolls or Goloubki (English: Pigeons) - updated with Photographs!

This is one of my most favorite Polish dishes. I recommend you to prepare it during cold season or when you expect visitors, because it feeds many people. The dish is simple, just few ingredients are needed, cheap and easy to find in any grocery in America or Europe. The preparation is time-consuming, like in case of many Polish dishes.


I head cabbage (medium or large)
1.5 lb ground beef, pork, veal (you can use the mixture of different meats or just pork but the total weight should be abour 1.5 lbs)
16 oz can tomato sauce
2.5 cups rice
salt and pepper to taste
1 maggi cube (beef, chicken or vegetable flavor bouillon cube)
100 g fresh mushrooms
some onion
1-2 Tbsp. margarine

Stages of the preparations of golabki (click the photo to see a magnification)

The cabbage (without the stem) is boilded in a hot water

Mix and cook the ground meats with the rice.
Make sure to add some salt, pepper, chili, mix it well and taste

The meat and rice filling is places on the cooked cabbage leaves

This is how we made an envelope

Golabki are placed tightely side by side in the big pot

One layer of golabki is on the top of the next layer.
All fit tightly together. The golabki are ready to be cooked again
in the water with tomato sauce and crushed maggi cube (bouillon cube).

Any questions? Ask in the Polish food forum.


Stuffing (filling) preparation
Cook the rice. In one pan heat the ground meat, add salt and pepper to taste.
In another pan fry sliced onion with margarine, add sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, some water if needed.
When it is all ready - mix well rice, ground beef and mushrooms together, taste, add spices if needed.

Cabbage wrap preparation
Remove the core from the cabbage. Place the cabbage to a big pot with boiling water (it does not need to cover the whole cabbage, but then you have to flip the cabbage to make sure that the whole head would heat up), remove the leaves as they soften one after one. You may keep a water heated on low heat.

I usually prepare cabbage leaves after stuffing is ready because the leaves need to be warm to wrap nicely around the stuffing

Cabbage rolls preparation
Place about 1-2 Tbsp. of the meat mixture (depending on the size of the leaf) in the center of the cabbage leaf and wrap the leaf like an envelope with the meat inside - this is a pigeon (golabek). Put some empty leaves on the bottom of the big pot to prevent burning, place the pigeons close to each other in the layers, so that they would not loose filling during cooking. Pour hot water mixed with tomato sauce and crushed maggi cube (optional) to the pot to cover the pigeons. Simmer over low heat for 2 hours.

I hope you would enjoy it!

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© by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, (article #232)

If you are interested in Polish cuisine I recommend you a book written by Alina Zeranska, Janina Domanska (Illustrator), entitled The Art of Polish Cooking

The most extensive and varied Polish cookbook ever published in English, with over 2,200 recipes in 20 categories, written especially for Americans with American weights, measures and temperatures a book written by Robert Strybel, Maria Strybel , entitled Polish Heritage Cookery

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