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Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls

Taken from Mennonite Foods and Folkways from South Russia
by Norma Jost Voth

Recipe by Justina D. Neufeld

Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi)

Holubtsi is a Ukrainian word meaning "little pigeons." In addition to being a popular family dish, Holubtsi are an essential part of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal. Fillings for these cabbage rolls vary, but the most popular remains a meat and rice combination topped with tomato sauce and sour cream. Like Varenikje, Holubtsi became popular with Mennonite families as well. This recipe comes from a woman who lived in the Ukraine until after World War II. - Mennonite Foods (I always thought this was called "Guluptsi" - Jo)



  1. Cook rice according to directions. Do not overcook; rice should be firm. Set aside.
  2. Saute chopped onion in butter until transparent. Add ground beef and cook until juice has almost been absorbed.
  3. Add the rice and cool slightly. Mix in the egg and seasonings. Set aside.
  4. Remove the core from the cabbage. Peel cabbage leaves off and drop into a pot of boiling, salted water and cook about 5 minutes. The leaves should be soft and pliable. Drain. When cool, cut off the hard center rib from each leaf.
  5. Place a large heaping spoonful of meat and rice mixture onto each leaf, folding up the sides, the stem and, finally, the top of the leaf. Secure with a toothpick. (Mom used to wind string around them, didn't she? - Jo)
  6. Mix tomato sauce and sour cream together. (The amount of sour cream used in the sauce depends upon personal taste. Many recipes use up to 1/2 cup sour cream with 1 cup tomato sauce.) Pour part of the mixture into a shallow glass casserole.
  7. Arrange cabbage rolls in a single layer. Pour remaining tomato sauce over top. (One recipe suggests cabbage rolls may be protected from scorching by laying a few leaves over the top of rolls.)
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350'F. Serve hot.