Thursday, October 17, 2013

Family Recipe Friday - Halupkie


My mom would make Halupkie when I was little.  Halupkie is another one of those family dishes that my mom made that had nothing (that I'm aware of) that had anything to do with my family history.  Or perhaps I should say it had nothing to do with her family history.  My mom's 100% Irish.  Halupkie (as we spelled it) or Halupki (as I found on the inter-tubes) is apparently a dish of eastern European origins and is quite popular in northeastern Pennsylvania.  

Get a cabbage leaf ready for stuffing
My father's side of the family was from Lithuania so perhaps this was a recipe that my mother made for him because he had it growing up.  My father referred to them as "Polish hand grenades." As I mentioned he wasn't Polish, he was Lithuanian, but I should still give my mom a call in the morning and check to be sure if she learned to make them for him.

She loved collecting recipes from her friend Linda Moyer's mom and would make them for us.  Perhaps this was one of the Moyer recipes if it wasn't from my dad's side of the family.  We grew up with family recipes that had nothing to do with our Irish heritage.  I tried corned beef once...perhaps that's why she branched out...YUCK!

Either way, this is a lovely family recipe that reminds me of happy times with my mom when I have it. She would make a much larger batch than this and would cook it in one of those large blue or black roasting know the ones with the little white flecks on them.  I wish I still had mine.  I'd post a picture.  Either way, any large roasting pan with a lid will suffice.  I altered the recipe to fit my crockpot.  It worked too.  Same taste and I love crockpot recipes (especially the ones that don't burn and this didn't).

Add a good scoop of meat (how much depends on the leaf)
One bad thing that happened was that the liquid started spitting out of my crockpot.  It was about 1/2-inch from the top when I started cooking, but it all expanded during cooking which resulted in tomato soup on my hardwood floor and on seat of a nearby chair.  Oh well.  You live, you learn.  Less liquid next time!


1 large onion, diced 
4 stalks celery, diced
2 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1-1/2 c cooked rice
1 large head of cabbage
1 (50 oz) can tomato soup
Olive oil

Fold the sides over the meat mixture and roll up

Place the beef in a large bowl.  In a pan with some olive oil, saute the onion and celery.  Add to the bowl with the beef.  Add salt and pepper.  Generously shake Worchestershire sauce over the meat (this is not a precise measurement.  Shake enough in until it smells good and Worcestershire-y).  Add the rice and mix well with hands.

Boil cabbage until bendy.  Carefully remove cabbage from pot and remove the outer leaves of the cabbages to line the bottom of a large roasting pan (reserve some of the leaves from the center of the head of cabbage that are too small to use to cover the top of the halupkie in the roasting pan).  Continue removing leaves from the cabbage.  When this becomes difficult you can return the cabbage to the hot water and boil until it softens.  I brought my cabbage to a boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes and then turned it off and just let it sit for about 30 minutes in the pot.  It worked wonderfully!

Fill the cabbage leaves (not the ones reserved for the bottom and top of the pan) with about ½ cup of the meat mixture on the leaf and roll.  To roll the cabbage, place the meat in the center of the leaf then fold the left and right sides in, then bring the bottom of the leaf up over the meat and roll up.  Place seam-side down over the layer of cabbage that is lining the roasting pan.  Continue to make the halupkie in this manner until done.  Place the second half of the reserved leaves over the top of the halupkie and tuck the sides into the pan.

A nice cabbage roll
Pour the tomato soup into a large bowl.  Fill the empty can with water and mix with the soup.  Pour the mixture over the halupkie being careful not to overflow the roasting pan.  Cover with the lid and bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 2 hours.

NOTE:  You need to get really good sized cabbage for this recipe otherwise the leaves will not be large enough to roll the meat in.

Crockpot variation - Make the halupkie as directed above, but when adding the tomato soup/water mixture stop pouring when you get about an inch from the top of the crockpot.  Make sure the crockpot is not near anything of value or that would stain if it starts to splatter.  Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.  As an adult I enjoy cabbage.  As a kid...not so much, but I'd always eat this cabbage!

Remember to put cabbage leaves on the bottom!

More cabbage leaves on top

Pour the tomato soup mixture leaving space at the top