In my opinion, strictly American cuisine does not exist. Even traditional BBQ foods like burgers and hot dogs – we imported these foods. American cuisine is an amazing blend of meats, vegetables, starches and spices from places our ancestors called home. Even apple pie didn’t really originate here. Gives an all-new meaning to “American as apple pie.” But then again, that’s what makes eating and cooking in America so delicious!
I’m of Polish descent – 100% – of which I’m very proud. But I haven’t always been the biggest advocate for Polish cuisine. My people are not responsible for crave-worthy foods like pizza, burritos, fries, quiche or steamed dumplings. We do have pierogi though and who doesn’t love pierogi?!
The most traditional Polish dish my mom cooked as a kid was Gołąbki (Golumpki). Quite honestly, it was my second unfavorite dish. The first – nameless baked white fish with onion rounds on it. Golumpki is pork or beef (usually ground) mixed with rice and spices, then wrapped in cabbage. My mom would stew the bundles in tomato sauce. And I’d smother them in ketchup. Mostly because I didn’t like ground meat or rice or cabbage and ketchup is an excellent condiment for masking any real flavors.
Recently, my mom re-posted a recipe on Facebook; a healthy, less labor intensive version of this traditional dish. And I decided it was time to revisit my roots.
1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small cabbage, chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground meat and onion and cook, stirring, until ground meat is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
My comments: This dish was very easy to make. Years ago I purchased a Le Creuset dutch oven – soups to sautéing – this pot is one of my absolute favorite accessories in my kitchen! If you don’t have a quality dutch oven, it’s worth the extra cash. I plan to be an old lady and still using this beautiful pot. And it was the perfect size for this dish. I love being able to sauté and then stew in the same pot. If nothing else, it cuts down on the dishes!
I chose to use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Still not a fan of ground beef. But it was a bit bland and I have a heavy hand when it comes to spicing up a dish. So I threw in 4 garlic cloves, instead of one and added 3 teaspoons of red pepper flakes. Before serving I sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on top too – I know, not Polish – but it’s cheese and cheese is always good. I would definitely recommend this hearty dish for a healthy, easy dinner.