A traditional Polish classic. Gołąbki means ‘little pigeons’.


500g of mince, 250g each of beef and pork is best

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

200g rice, preboiled for 5 mins (We use basmati for everything)

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

1 Savoy Cabbage, seperated into leaves

2 tins of tomatoes

200ml stock, chicken or veg.

1 onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

Olive Oil, 1 tbsp

Cider vinegar, a splash


Bring a large pan of well salted water to the boil.

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and season well.

Heat the oil in a large pan or frying pan with a lid, and soften the second onion with a pinch of salt over a medium flame. As the onion softens, blanch the cabbage leaves, 3 or 4 at a time, for 1-2 minutes. Drain well.

Throw in the bay leaf with the softening onions and cook until you catch its smell, about 1 minute, then tip in the tinned tomatoes and stock. Season well with pepper, but taste for salt. Leave to bubble until reduced and thickened.

While the sauce thickens, take a cabbage leaf, one at a time, and a golf ball sized piece of the meat mixture. Place the mixture in the curl at the base of the leaf, wrap the sides snuggly around, and roll it up. Place it aside, seam side down, and repeat until you run out of mixture (hopefully before the leaves!).

Taste the sauce for seasoning, then stir through the splash of vinegar, before placing the cabbage parcels on top of the sauce, as tightly as possible. Don’t worry about man-handling them, it’s much better than them unraveling while cooking. Put the lid on the pan, turn down the heat, and poach the gołąbki for around 40 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with the sauce for a light dinner, or with butter bean mash for something a bit more substantial.

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