Everybody has a few things in their lives that have always loved. For me, just like baseball, Star Wars and Brad Pitt, I have always loved Goblacki. (say it with me: “gow-ump-gee”). What is it? It’s meat and rice rolled in cabbage and stewed in a tomato gravy. It’s more of a winter food, but I can eat it alllll year long. Serve it up with some potatoes (either in the gravy or mashed), some green beans or peas and rye bread & butter and I am good to go.
My Babci has made them, my Mom has made them and my Cioci Marion has made them. I’ve had others over the years but none that I like as much as my Babci’s, Mom’s & Aunt’s (a notable exception is Syrenka, a Polish cafeteria style joint in Port Richmond here in Philly. Their Goblaki is pretty darn good.). I had never made them and I was wondering how that might be done. So, I roped my Mom into making them with me last Sunday, because if I can make Pierogies, I should be able to handle Goblaki, right? Let’s find out!
Ok, so the first thing you need to do is to get a head or two of cabbage. Try and find a decent head, because the more you have to peel off, the less Goblaki you will end up with. You have to cut out the core (note: Take your time! I almost lost many a finger. Cabbage is a pain in the ass.) and try to get the leaves off in one piece. After trying to snap them off and mutilating some of them, my Mom put the whole head in a pot of boiling water. Then the leaves came right off with a pair of tongs! It give them right up! You’d of thought it was French cabbage (yes, a stale WW2 joke.).
Pop them into a colander and move along to mixing your ground meat and cooked rice (you did cook some rice right? Of course you did!) with some salt and pepper to taste. We used around 4 pounds of ground meat. Now we need to wrap our little friends up!
It’s pretty simple. Just take the cabbage in your hand. Put some meat filling in there. Roll that bad boy up. Tuck in the ends. Done! Between me and my Mom, we had 16 done in a snap! I was pretty proud of myself since it was my first time, and I didn’t rip too many leaves. The leaves, since they were boiled, are kind of like damp tissues, so you do have to be kind of careful with them. Luckily, unlike damp tissues, they are not really disgusting. In fact, they are kind of cute…and delicious!
You might think they look odd because they seem translucent, but don’t sweat it, the slow cooking and gravy will take care of it.
Now get out your big stock pot (you brought out your big stock pot right?), and line the bottom with cabbage leaves. Why? Well, you don’t have to, but I would then suggest investing in SOS Pads and bulking up your arm because the bottom of your pot will be unbelievably burned. Oh, and the bottom layer of your Goblaki will stick, rip and be ruined. So, you know, the choice is yours.
Don’t they look happy and ready to go? Yeah, I thought so too!
Mix up some tomato soup, some gravy mix and some water and pour it in. Then, let it simmer for about 4 hours.
Some people make theirs in lasagna type pans and put them in the oven with butter. Some people use the really dark green leaves, but they get kind of bitter. My Grandmom apparently used to cover them with sauerkraut to keep them moist in the oven. I find that odd, but people like what they like. I prefer the tomato soup gravy and that’s that 🙂
Before the Goblaki are done, feel free to peel and toss a few potatoes in there to cook in the juice.
So what do you do with all that leftover cabbage? Throwing it away seems wasteful but it’s cabbage, not exactly something that is very, shall we say, versatile. Think about Stewed Cabbage! Chop up the rest of the cabbage, some canned tomoatoes, some onion and toss it in a pot. throw in some water and boil. Later on, make a roux (butter and flour) to thicken it and there ya go! The longer it cooks, the better it is (low heat! stir from the bottom!) It is awesome by itself, or with Kielbasie or hotdogs or as a side dish to almost anything. Cabbage is really good for you, so go for it!
My only suggestion is this: crack a window, because all this cabbage might make you self propelled!
no flour that’ll be hanging around until the end of time. Just a little bit of Murder, She Wrote on TVLand, some loafing on the sofa and then some serious eating. If you want to try it, also remember that they freeze really well, so it might be nice to put some away for those nights where all you wanna do is eat and veg on the sofa. Goblaki is serious comfort food, so go get comfy with it!