This week, I’m sharing an updated old family favorite, Ollopses. These delicious cabbage rolls in tomato sauce are also known as Holishkes or galumpkis. I used Ben’s grandmother’s recipe for years, but it has slowly evolved to reflect our family’s eating habits, including the use of whole wheat berries or spelt berries instead of rice. For the vegetarian version, simply omit the ground meat, or substitute tofu or mushrooms. It’s the perfect hearty supper for this time of year, and I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.
4 cups canned tomatoes
2 onions, diced
2 tbsp butter or fat
3 tbsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1 large head cabbage
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup whole grains (wheat berries, spelt berries, oat groats, etc)
1 1/2 tsp salt
To begin the sauce, saute half the diced onion in the butter, in either a wide casserole pot or a Crock pot. Once the onion is golden, add the tomatoes, lemon juice, honey, ginger, bay leaf, and raisins, and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cut the core (stem) out of the bottom of your cabbage. Drop the cabbage into the boiling water, cover, and cook 2-3 minutes. Carefully move the cabbage to the sink, let cool a bit, and then peel off the leaves, trying not to break them. If needed, you can plunge the cabbage back into the boiling water to soften the inner leaves. When you get to leaves that are too small to stuff, chop them finely and add them to the sauce.
In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then add your whole grains and cook for 15 minutes. They will not be completely softened, as they will finish cooking inside the rolls. Drain off the water, and place grains in a mixing bowl.
In your mixing bowl, add the 2 eggs, diced onion, and salt. You can also add diced carrot, parsley, or other vegetables and herbs to the filling as desired. Mix together well.
Next, make a ball out of a handful of the filling and roll it up in a cabbage leaf, rolling from the soft end to the spiny end. Tuck the end under and place in the sauce (carefully, since your sauce is hot!). Repeat until you’ve used up all your filling (this should make about ten rolls). Spoon some of the sauce over the rolls and cover.
Simmer at least 30 minutes – the longer the better. One of the great virtues of this dish is that it improves with age, so it’s perfect to make a day ahead and reheat! Leftovers are fabulous (have you noticed this is a theme with my recipes? We love leftovers).
Bon Appetit everyone, and enjoy your whole grain goodness!