Cabbage Rolls (Holupchi)

"This recipe is one that I've developed over years, and I mean years. One big reason is that I only do these every couple of years but after this last batch I suspect I'll make them more often. Holupchi, for you good Uke's out there, is one of those foods that is quite involved to make but the end result is well worth the effort. When I make it, I normally do a large quantity because it freezes very well."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
30-35 rolls




  • For the sauce:

  • Take your onion and with a knife make 5-7 slits (depending on how many cloves you are using). Insert your cloves into the slits.
  • Finely chop your garlic and dill.
  • Sweat off your garlic and your whole onion for about a minute, flipping the onion once.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Taste your sauce, if it needs more of anything, add it. I find sometimes I need more sugar, sometimes more vinegar.
  • For the rolls:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cook your rice as you normally would (for 1 1/2 cups of rice, I would normally use about 3 cups water). Once cooked, put it in a large bowl to cool.
  • Core your cabbage. Reserve two outer leaves and shred. Finely chop your dill.
  • Bring a large pot of water and the cabbage to a boil. As the cabbage cooks, remove the leaves that separate (with tongs) and set aside. Depending on the size of your cabbage, you'll want 20-30 leaves. (the leftover cabbage will freeze well too).
  • Meanwhile, add the ground veal, dill, shredded reserved cabbage, salt and pepper to the rice and mix well with your hands.
  • Take a 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce and add it to the rice mixture. Mix again and check the consistency. You can choose to add up to another 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, this is a personal choice.
  • Line the bottom of a roast pan with 2-3 leaves, so that the bottom is covered. Ladle a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  • Take the cabbage leaves you've removed and remove the cores. If your leaves are big you may also want to cut them in half.
  • Grab some of the rice mixture, about I'm guessing a 1/4 cup or about the size of a golf ball (this again depends of the size of your leaves), and shape it into a finger. Put it in the cabbage and roll the cabbage, folding the ends in, and lay in the roast pan seam side down.
  • Repeat until you have filled the bottom of the pan and ladle about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the rolls. Repeat until you run out of the stuffing.
  • Take the remaining sauce and pour it all over the rolls. Cover and bake for about 30-45 minutes, until your meat is cooked.

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  1. This is one of my favorite comfort foods. I remember the first time I had cabbage rolls as a little girl. Calgary Alberta, my Great Aunt Anuk made them in the biggest pot I'd ever seen on the top of the stove. I still remember the heavenly smell. I make these rolls often and I tried this recipe because I thought I made the best in the world. The only difference is, I use more spice and less dill. My recipe, I think is a mix of my heritage Italian/Ukrainian/Romanian influence. Yours are right up there. I took me back! About 40 years! Thanks for the post. My friends beg me to make Cabbage Rolls, they are a labor of love. Dian
  2. Very good! I left out the dill and cloves because I didn't have any, and it was still good without - just a little bland.



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