GolubtsyA mixture of meat and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves and stewed in a savory broth, this is a perfect dish for a cold winter’s day and very popular, in one version or another, throughout Eastern Europe. Ideally, it is made with fresh cabbage leaves for the best possible flavor, but if you want to scale down the amount of preparation involved, you can find pickled cabbage leaves in some Eastern European stores. An even less labor-intensive version is “tefteli” — meatballs that are pan-fried and then stewed in the sauce for about 30 minutes. Do not use bouillon cubes for this dish. Use good-quality canned or frozen stock, or, better yet, make your own using beef and veal bones (I make mine in a slow-cooker).

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground veal
½ lb coarsely ground pork
1 large head of green cabbage (the paler the cabbage, the better it will taste)
½ cup parboiled rice
1 large onion, minced
10 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (see below for “How to peel and seed a tomato”)
1 quart strong beef or veal stock
1+ tbsp minced Italian parsley
2+ tbsp minced dill
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 dry cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream for garnish

You will need a large-diameter pot with a heavy lid, possibly two. Also, if using fresh cabbage, you will need a large stock pot and a barbecue or roast fork. More