-- remove outer leaves as they become blanched -- do not over-cook.
-- stack on cookie sheet as they come out of the water - they will continue to soften.
-- cut thick vein from each leaf.
- mix together your meat, drained rice, chopped onion, garlic powder, parsley, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and egg.
-- to sweeten up the meat a bit, I add a good squirt of ketchup (there's only one brand - Heinz) and 1/2 can of tomato soup (you probably don't need this if you use pork - but at least try the ketchup).
- fill your rolls and roll 'em up -- don't roll too tight - you will be able to tuck in the ends by pushing in with your little finger -- if they're rolled to tight, they'll explode in your hand -- or fold over the ends of the leaf when rolling sort of like a round burrito.
-- it doesn't take long to do this -- have fun.
Now for the artistry:
- Line the bottom of your roaster with bacon - roaster should be deep enough to add several layers and hold adequate liquid.
- Top the bacon with a good layer of left-over cabbage leaves -- the ones too small to roll or ripped leaves.
- layer with sauerkraut.
- sprinkle a little caraway seeds.
- layer with thickly sliced onion and chopped garlic.
- add 6-10 bay leaves, depending on the amount.
- layer the halupki - alternating direction of layers.
-- incorporate 2 - 3 inch lengths of kielbasa throughout.
- add remaining tomato soup if used.
- add tomatoes and sauce.
- salt and pepper.
- add cabbage water to cover.
Bake at 350 for one hour then reduce heat to 250 for three more hours.
-- or reduce heat to 175-200 overnight - check to ensure enough liquid - don't dry them out.
Serve with kick-ass mashed potatoes.
- roast as much garlic as you would like in the potatoes.
Cube potatoes and for best results add sea salt and refrigerate for a few hours.
- rinse and drain potatoes, cover with water and lightly boil until soft.
Mash together with butter, canned milk, cheddar/freshly grated Parmesan cheese, sea salt, white pepper, roasted garlic, jarred diced garlic, a little garlic powder, and grape seed oil.