In Russia the name “Golubtsi” is referred not only to ground meat and rice rolled into cabbage leaves, but also to bell peppers stuffed with the same filling. These two variants are very similar in a way they are cooked because cabbage rolls and stuffed pepper are both stewed in a rich tomato and sour cream sauce. There are also a lot of recipes of meatless stuffing. Golubtsi are considered an everyday dish because just as Russian pelmeni and vareniki Russian cabbage rolls can be frozen and cooked when necessary.
Today it is difficult to distinguish between solely Slavic recipes and products and those that were borrowed from foreign countries and became a part of Russian cuisine. There was a dish called “Galushi” which consisted from minced beef and millet porridge rolled in cabbage leaves. However, culinary historians see no connection of the name “golubec” with this dish.
In their modern look cabbage rolls appeared in Russian cuisine not such a long time ago. The recipe itself was adopted from Eastern European countries – Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. There is a supposition that cabbage rolls have Turkish or Armenian roots. Middle Eastern variant of the dish is cooked from ground lamb meat mixed with grains and rolled in vine leaves. This dish is known as dolma or tudma and is served with hot sauces.
The cooking process of golubtsi is easy but time consuming. Perhaps, this is the reason why the recipe of “lazy golubtsi” came into being. All ingredients including cabbage, meat, and rice are finely chopped, mixed, shaped like meatballs and then fried. But today we will share a recipe of traditional golubtsi which will be a centerpiece of every table.
Finely chop carrots and onion, fry till soft. Boil rice until half-cooked and cool it.
Mix ground meat with a small part of carrots and onions, add rice, chopped greens and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the filling thoroughly and chill in the fridge.
If you want cabbage leaves to be identical, it is better to boil whole cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the core of the cabbage. Boil it in a big pot for 5-10 minutes. Pull off the leaves as they begin to soften. Before filling golubtsi cut off the hard part of each leaf and then add the stuffing and roll them into little envelopes.
Use the rest of carrot onion mass to make a sauce. Add tomato paste and sour cream, season with salt and pepper. Stew for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and stew for another 5 minutes. Then put golubtsi in a deep pot, pour the sauce in. Add water if the sauce does not cover the cabbage rolls. Cook covered for 40-50 minutes.
Serve golubtsi in a deep plates with a lot of broth.