Thursday, August 2, 2018

Classic Sauces for Polish Cabbage Rolls


Cabbage Rolls (Gołąbki in Polish) are an iconic Polish comfort food enjoyed by hungry eaters all over the world.   Our American friends love them as much as our Polish friends.  Legend has it that in 1465 King Kazimierz IV fed cabbage rolls to his army prior to the Battle of Malbork against the Teutonic knights.  The brave Poles defeated the Teutonic Order and their victory was credited to the high nutritional value and strength-boosting qualities of their cabbage rolls. 

If you follow any of the Polish heritage social media sites, you know that everyone has their own spin on cabbage rolls.  Some are small,  some are large,  some have varying meat mixtures, and there many sauce recipes,  sometimes based on canned soup.  We believe that freshly prepared sauces from great ingredients will make a huge difference in your cabbage rolls.  Here are two classic sauces for you to try:

Tomato Sauce from Laura’s Babcia
1 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes
1 stick of salted butter (same as 8 TBSP or ½ cup) 
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring the tomatoes and butter to a slow boil.  Break up the tomatoes as they cook.  Simmer this mixture until it thickens – about 20 to 30 minutes.  Using a traditional standing blender or immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Pour over the cabbage rolls and bake for one hour at 350 F°.  Periodically spoon some of the sauce over the cabbage rolls to keep the tops moist. 

Mushroom Sauce from Peter’s Mom
1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large onion, shopped finely
1 cup chicken stock or bouillon
2½ tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cold water
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup sour cream

Simmer the mushrooms and onion in the bouillon for 15 minutes.  Mix the flour with cold water and stir in.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Blend in the sour cream and mix well.  Pour over the cabbage rolls before baking. 

You could also forgo any sauces and bake the cabbage rolls in their own juices, adding some water or broth, and flour at the end to thicken it up.  Whether you prefer Tomato Sauce, Mushroom Sauce or none, your cabbage rolls are sure to be a hit with anyone at your table.  We like to serve them with Polish beer, icy vodka shots, or a hearty red wine. 

PS:  For a "must-have" collection of great heritage recipes check out our two globally acclaimed Polish cookbooks: Polish Classic Recipes and Polish Classic Desserts - where all the recipes have been handed down from previous generations, but updated for modern kitchens.  Also, listen to us discuss great heritage Polish cuisine in our vignette called Smacznego, every month at:

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