I spent my childhood going to Polish Festivals in the "Coal Region" of PA. The food was legendary, & above all else, I looked forward to halupki -- cabbage rolls. Oh, what a treat! When I started cooking on my own, I took making halupki up with a great passion. Mine never were as good as the little old Polish ladies at the festivals. Until I learned their secrets & how to make them the REAL way. I now share with you. These are the best! Enjoy.
I always make mine in my crockpots, but you can bake them in the oven or cook them in a huge stockpot on the stove.
1After cabbage cooks, allow it to cool a bit so you can handle. You will be tearing off the leaves to use as the base for this dish. I tear all my leaves off before mixing my meats to get a little assembly line ready.
2Mix ground beef & pork together. (I was taught to use my hands, NEVER a spoon.) Salt & pepper the meat generously and mix. Add about 2 TBS of paprika & garlic powder & mix.
3Now add the eggs & mix well. Add the juice from the sauerkraut, about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce, onions (I saute my onions in about 2 tsps of shortening until they are nice & brown), and rice. Mix and mix and mix well.
4Pour the rest of the tomato sauce in the bottom of your crockpot (you will need one very large one or 2 smaller).
5Form oval type meatballs for each cabbage leaf. Place the meat in the cabbage leaf, and then gently roll up & tuck underneath, as needed. If it is your first time making them, you may want to use toothpicks to hold each roll together until you get the hang of working w/ the cabbage.
6Begin layering the cabbage rolls on top of the sauce, then some kraut, then some crushed tomatoes. Continue layering. I add ground black pepper in between. I also tuck in any of the cabbage leaves that have torn or are not good for rolling in between the layers.
7Top with crushed tomatoes & cook in crockpot for about 10 hours. And, enjoy! I always serve with mashed potatoes. YUMMMY!!!!