LAZY GOLUMPKI (stuffed cabbage)
Rice and ground meat is the tradition. Rolled in a cooked cabbage leaf, then baked with a sauce on top. Brown gravy or tomato sauce.
Cabbage these days, for whatever pandemic related reason, isn’t cooking up the same as it once did. It takes a long time to soften. Then by the time it does, the leafy part is too soft, while the lighter green part too fibrous. I never thought of cabbage being fibrous. It usually melts in your mouth when cooked.
Well, times change and a chef changes with them. Who really likes to boil a cabbage, peel the leaves off as they become tender, stuff them, then roll them up? There’s always that risk of them falling apart.
So meet the Lazy Golumpki.
We use pink rice which has a meat crumble texture. The pink rice becomes the rice and the meat. The rice this time is barbecue flavored.
Makes 11 cups
PINK BARBECUE RICE: Makes 6 cups
3-1/2 c. water
2 c. Pink Rice by LOTUS FOODS
2 t. salt
Place all ingredients in large saucepan. Stir. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 20 minutes according to the package. Mine took 40 minutes. Maybe twice the rice means twice the cooking time.
Stir every 10 minutes.
Turn heat off.
2 T. Balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 T. liquid smoke
2 t. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Stir, under up and over repeatedly till equally dispersed.
The color should be uniform throughout.
You can refrigerate in covered container till ready to use, once cooled to room temperature.
SEASONED CABBAGE CUTS:
2-1/2 lbs. green cabbage – remove outer leaves and core and discard – cut in half, then cut each half crosswise into 3/4-1 inch wide cuts from end to end
lots of salt, like you’re salting pasta water – taste after stirring
3 T. SPICE TIME IMITATION CHICKEN BOUILLON
1 T. cinnamon
1- Fill an extra-large soup pot half filled with water and place over medium-high heat.
2- Add salt, bouillon and cinnamon.
3- Add cabbage and cook, covered, till tender-soft, stirring occasionally.
4- Drain cabbage in colander.
1- Make sure your rice is heated throughout and tender-soft. If removing from refrigerator, this will take a few minutes; don’t rush it, we don’t want crispy rice grains, so no browning on the bottom allowed. Don’t add water to quicken the softening; it will turn to mush.
2- Place the rice in an extra-large skillet, with no oil.
3- Spread rice evenly while fluffing it up. Cover and cook till soft, checking occasionally to re-stir from the bottom up. Turn heat off.
4- After draining cabbage in a colander, transfer entire amount to skillet with rice. Spoon under and over till cabbage is evenly distributed throughout rice crumbles.
5- Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder evenly over top as desired to taste. Again stir under, up and over repeatedly till seasonings are dispersed throughout. Taste test to be sure.
6- Either reheat entire skillet over medium-low heat, covered, being careful not to crisp the rice – nobody likes crispy rice grains. Or spoon or mold individual servings in bowls and microwave one minute.
7- Squirt ketchup in lines over Golumpki. Sprinkle with fresh grind black pepper, then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Notes: Pink rice along with red rice has the unique characteristic that textures like meat crumbles. It’s denser and chewier than white or brown rice, thus that’s how we use it. It’s a marvel and a great conversation piece for invited guests.
A Tablespoon of cinnamon may seem like a lot, but it’s in a pot of water and the end result after being cooked creates a rich complexity of flavors that enhances the pink rice when later mixed with it.