Back in April, I reviewed Square brand canned golabki. It wasn't as good as homemade (of course) but there were flavor elements to the filling that I found interesting and even enjoyable. The most pronounced of these was a "cured meat" flavor akin to corned beef. It got me thinking about how I could get that kind of taste in a homemade golabki.
It turned out to be easier than I thought; I just started out with our standard family recipe and did some tweaking to the ingredients. To get the right texture and taste to the filling, I used a can of corned beef that I got at Big Lots! for two bucks - if you're going to try making golabki this way (and they're delicious, so I highly recommend doing it at least once!) don't buy the tin of corned beef at the supermarket if you can help it. Go to Price/Rite, Big Lots! or some other deep-discount place and get the cheap stuff. It works great.
1 can (1 lb) tinned corned beef1 lb ground pork1 generous cup cooked rice3/4 cup minced onion1 tsp freshly ground black pepper1 tsp good Hungarian paprika1/2 tsp ground coriander, or more to tasteDash of salt1 average-sized head of cabbage1 can (28 ounces) tomato pureeSet a big kettle of water on to boil while making the filling for the golabki.
Use a fork to shred the tinned corn beef, then mix it thoroughly with the ground pork, rice, and onion. Season the meat mixture with black pepper, Hungarian paprika, coriander and salt, mixing well to distribute the seasonings.
(At this point, I pinched off a small lump of the mixture and cooked it in the microwave - about a minute is all it takes - and tasted it to check the seasonings. I suggest you do this, too, and adjust them as you see fit.)
By now the kettle of water will be boiling. After trimming off any "bad" outside leaves on the cabbage, plunge it into the water for a few minutes to wilt and parcook the outer leaves. This will make them easy to remove from the head and supple enough to wrap around the filling. Continue plunging the cabbage into the boiling water and peeling off leaves until you have a sufficient number of leaves to use up the stuffing.
Stuff the cabbage leaves by taking up a lump of the filling enough to make a small burger, and form it into an oblong shape. Wrap the oblong in a cabbage leaf by folding the sides of the leaf up, then rolling the rest of the golabki up in the ends of the leaf, much the same way you'd wrap a burrito. As each is wrapped, place them in a lasagna pan or large baking pan. Pour the tomato sauce evenly over all the cabbage rolls. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 F oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 8 minutes to reduce and slightly brown the sauce.
Serve hot with mashed potatoes.