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.
Serves 6 (makes 12 parcels)
- 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.k
- 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.