Traditionally we use firm white cabbage leaves, so if you want more of a traditional taste, please use those, they just may need to be blanched for three minutes instead of two. My grandmother Lusya also used to make a version using wheat berries or buckwheat instead of rice and whole fermented cabbage leaves instead of fresh cabbage. The combination of sharp cabbage and luscious pork is incredible. I add barberries to my golubtsy to achieve that sour note. But you don’t have to use those if they are hard to find.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Photography: Kris Kirkham
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 head Savoy cabbage, 12 leaves separated
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
160g rice, parboiled and drained
40g barberries (optional)
100ml sour cream
½ small bunch dill, finely chopped
Make the sauce first. Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole. Fry half of the onion and the grated carrot over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add the sugar and the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes and 400ml water and season well.
Blanch the cabbage leaves for 2 minutes in boiling water. Then refresh them in cold water and drain well on kitchen paper.
Mix the minces, parboiled rice, barberries, seasoning and the remaining diced onion. Place 50g of the filling on to each cabbage leaf and fold into parcels.
Place the parcels on top of the sauce, folded side down, tucking them next to each other snugly so they do not unravel.
Cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with lots of chopped dill, sourdough bread and a dollop of sour cream on the side.
As part of their #CookForUkraine, Ukranian chef Olia Hercules and Russian food creative Alissa Timoshkina are sharing recipes and hosting fundraising events in an effort to increase awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Read more about the charity and donate by clicking the link below. This recipe was extracted from Olia Hercules’s wonderful book Mamushka (2015).