What the heck is Halupki????
Is it a Ukrainian dish or is it a Russian dish? Or maybe it’s a Polish or Slovak dish?
Irregardless of the exact place of origin; Halupkis are enjoyed in more cultures than you might think. To be honest a version of Halupki are enjoyed and shared in all of the above cultures as well as others I haven’t even listed for example; Hungary has their version too.
It make sense combining the use of any meat, rice and cabbage as a family staple for many cultures because of the ease of availability to grow your own crops like cabbage and raise your animals. To distinguish ingredients and even the name to call it comes down directly from what each culture refers to it. Some families may add a few extra ingredients and others may omit some ingredients. In the end, it’s all in how you were brought up making and ultimately eating them. Plus, if your grandmother and her mother made them a certain way and you are lucky enough to still enjoy the time honored traditional family recipe you will follow it to a T, in order to preserve and keep those traditions passed down the family tree.
Besides having a family recipe that literally hasn’t changed for generations, I also am using one of the pots my grandmother Julia, had in her kitchen which is incredibly nostalgic and just amazing to me. Even after all this time, something she used in her kitchen to feed her family, is still being used generations later. I also wanted to highlight how well this pot has stood the test of time.
After the cabbage was boiled and I cut off the last leave of usable cabbage I dumped my cabbage water and used this same pot to cook my brown rice. Since this was my first solo attempt of making Halupki without my mom, I did not want to make many dirty pots and pans so I just reused this pot. I thoroughly washed my brown rice and then added it to boiling hot water and cooked until done. In a sperate frying pan, I added a few teaspoons of Virgin Olive Oil, and sautéed a medium onion and garlic and set aside until rice was done.
In a sperate bowl, I have my thawed beef waiting to be added to the brown rice.
This picture below is just a quick snapshot of how I have everything set up in my kitchen. I mixed the raw meat with the brown rice and onion and stirred thoroughly making sure the rice and meat were blended.
As I finished combining ingredients I was able to wash the pots in between. So now, that the raw meat and brown rice are mixed I’m ready to stuff my cabbage leaves.
Before baking the Halupki make sure you thoroughly mix the tomato soup and sauce, then add it to the baking dish. Once you have mixed the liquid ingredients and lined the baking dish it’s time to bake and serve!
I have been fortunate enough to grow up eating these delicious lean meat filled cabbage rolls and LOVE them. So much that I also have altered the ingredients to make them meatless for myself.
I have been fortunate to be able to spend quality time before holidays and over the summer months at my parents’ house and was able to help my mom make these delicious homemade Halupki. Watching her boil the correct sized cabbage leaves, making the rice and adding the right amount of onion and spices, realizing that you do not cook the beef, rather it has to be thawed and with the other ingredients added. All the while my Mom showed me the proper way to stuff and roll the cabbage leaves before placing them into a large pot of sauce. These are amazing memories hat have been made and will always be cherished.
By the way I still haven’t got the hang of rolling the cabbage leaves as precise and perfect as my mom does it but hey it’s a start!
On a side note, the Halupki are actually tastier the next day. It’s similar to many pasta dishes which often taste better the next day, after the flavors have had time to blend together. Halupki also freeze well and are convenient to pull out for a quick dinner anytime!
- 1 medium sized head of cabbage
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1 cup rice (I used brown rice)
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 can of tomato soup
- 1-2 cups tomato sauce
- Salt and Pepper
- Fill a large soup pot with water to boil the head of cabbage. Allow the water to come to a boil and gently place the cabbage head in. With a fork and a knife keep turning the head of cabbage around allowing the outer layer of cabbage leaves to cook evenly. Once the cabbage leaves start turning a brighter green cut the outer most layers of cabbage at the core and place on a separate baking sheet.
- When making the rice, it’s a 1:1 ratio of rice to meat. Follow the directions on your box or bag for making 1 cup of rice.
- In a separate pan sauté onions and garlic to blend in the cooked rice.
- Mix raw meat and rice together and start stuffing the cabbage rolls.
- The cabbage leave when placed in your hand should have the harder core trimmed. Try not to over stuff your cabbage leaves. When adding the meat and rice to the roll add the mixture horizontally to the backbone of the cabbage leave and then slowly wrap the sides around the meat and place in baking dish.
- Once you have used up all the meat and rice mixture mix the tomato soup and pasta well and pour over Halupki filling the bottom of your baking dish.
- Bake 350 degrees for 50+minutes. I usually go 65 minutes or until the top of the Halupki start to crisp up. Keep an eye on them if not sure of how long to leave them in beyond 50 minutes.