My grandmother on my dad’s side was a great cook. I have always tried to keep her Polish and Lithuanian traditions for recipes during the Easter holidays that she passed on to me. She would spend hours sitting at the table stuffing and rolling cabbage leaves with so much patience until they all looked perfect. Her Gwumpkie was to die for.
More than anything, I love to cook, and share grandmas recipes with friends and family.
Grandma never measured anything unless it was for baking. It was always a pinch of this and a handful of that, or just relying on good old taste buds and texture to make sure everything came out just right. She never set timers, it was eye-balling and smelling.
Thinking back, the hardest and most time consuming recipe to learn was Gwumpkie (stuffed cabbage), but it was also the one thing that filled the house with a smell delicious like no other, and always made the best left-overs. I’d like to share that recipe on Patch with you.
These are the ingredients you’ll need:
2 heads of green cabbage, boiled until center is soft.
(Cool cabbage in colander and bowl of water, cutting out the center stem.)
1 large onion, finely chopped sautéed in butter.
3 lbs. ground beef and 1-½ lbs. ground pork.
3 cups cooked white rice.
1 can each of condensed tomato soup, evaporated milk.
1 large can each of tomato sauce and beef broth.
Salt and pepper.
2 cans diced tomatoes.
1 tablespoon of minced or chopped garlic.
1 small slab of cured salt pork (cut & cubed).
A handful of ground parsley.
10 large white potatoes, peeled and cut in half.
And here is how to put it all together:
Combine your ground beef and ground pork, working it together with your hands until it seems well blended. Then add in your rice, eggs, onions, evaporated milk and tomato soup; season mixture with salt, pepper, parsley and garlic.
Get out your big covered roasting pan, and set your oven at 350 degrees. Separate your cabbage leaves, and using a tablespoon, put two or three scoops of the meat mixture together (depending on the size of each leaf) into the center of the cabbage leave.
Fold the soft side in first, and roll it slightly, folding in the sides. Roll the rest of the leaf, and place it with the heavier side in your pan. Keep going until you have filled all of your leaves. It’s OK to layer them in the pan, and if you don’t have a covered roasting pan, a double disposable deep aluminum pan is fine.
Once that is done, pour your beef broth over your stuffed cabbages, then your tomato sauce, sprinkle with diced tomatoes and top evenly with the cubed salt pork. Throw in your potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. If you have any meat mixture left over, you can make meat balls from it and just plop them on top. Cover with a pan top or tin foil, and place in your oven for about two hours.
I really hope you enjoy making this dish as much as I do. Let me know what you think!