Polished Polish

Halupki 1 cup uncooked instant rice 1 lb. ground beef 1/2 onion, chopped 1 – 2 heads of cabbage 1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce 1 link of Polish Keilbasa sausage, cut into 2″ pieces 2 cans of sauerkraut 2 T. vegetable oil Salt & Pepper Take off outer leaves of cabbage and boil about 12 – 15 leaves until soft. Drain delicately and set aside. Saute onion until soft in oil. In a bowl mix with uncooked rice and raw meat. Taking a cabbage leave, roll ground beef mixture like an eggroll. (See diagram at left). Repeat with remaining leaves and mixture. In a large pot, layer 1/2 a can of sauerkraut and 1/4 bottle of chili sauce. Lay halupki rolls on top of the sauerkraut, adding 1/2 link of the sausage in between. Layer more sauerkraut, chili sauce and more rolls, sausage. Top with the rest of the sauerkraut and chili sauce. Add 1 “chili sauce bottle’s worth” of water to the pot. Let simmer until all is cooked through (at least an hour….but the longer, the better!!!) adding water as necessary if it dries out.

This is quintessential Polish food. My mom makes them. My grandmother makes it for Easter. It’s at weddings with fried chicken. They have dinners of them at the church (see that woman above, picture clones of her en mass making these). This is Pennsylvania’s version of the southern barbecue or chicken dinner. This is it. And it’s fantastic. FYI, they are also called Golabki, I guess it depends which side of the tracks you’re on!

At first, it sounds like it’s an odd flavor combination – the acidity between the sauerkraut and tomatoes is quite alot. But for some reason it works. Please make sure to use full fat ground beef as the fat does tend to cut this and help it.

Oh man, how do you serve it? Most easily with mashed potatoes. (Little bit of milk, little pat of butter mixed in.) But on my Grandmother’s easter table it’s with fried chicken, pasta salad, salad, green beans, aforementioned mashed potatoes, etc…basically it’s every which way!

This stuff makes leftovers BEAUTIFULLY. It’s like gumbo, even better the next day!

For an “easier” but not as fabulous version, and probably sacrilege to my Polish/Czech ethnic standing, grab a crock pot. Forget the rolling. Precook your ground beef and rice and onion, mix it. Layer the sauerkraut, chili, cooked cabbage, ground beef, repeat. Like a lasagne. Leave it on all day and continue to add water. Shhh, just don’t tell my grandma.

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