Recently, I was at my friend Beata's baby shower. She and her husband are Polish, and they had lots of Polish friends, who brought quite a bit of Polish food. And when I say, "they brought quite a bit," I mean in the way that Sitting Bull brought quite a bit of Cheyenne to a small party with Custer. It was astounding. After we all ate our fill, Beata announced, "And now, we eat dinner!" Holy crap. That's when the meat really came out. Dear lord, the meat! If meat makes for a healthy baby (and I think I'm a testament to that), then this kid is gonna be Herculean.
One of the many tasty, meaty items was galumpki, which I think most people have had at one time or another. They're also called cabbage rolls, and that's just what they are: rolled cabbage leaves with rice and pork in the center, and tomato sauce on top. All through my childhood, my father made them, and mistakenly called them "pigs in a blanket," which they are not.
They're great, but not so easy to make. The cabbage leaves have to be blanched, and the rice pre-cooked, and then of course there's all the rolling. I made a sort of "deconstructed" galumpki in the slow cooker, which is also a bit healthier because it uses turkey. It tastes great (much like the original), and utilizes a much simpler "open package, dump contents" sort of technique.
1 carrot, peeled and broken up
1 celery stick with leaves
1 clove garlic
(if you made the Turkey Chili Mac, then you already have these in your fridge)
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 bag of cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup water
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce (puree)
salt and pepper
In layers, place half the bag of cabbage mix, then half the mix of the first four veggies, which you've pulsed to a fine chop in the food processor. Add half the rice, then tear half the turkey up into chunks to complete the first layer. Make sure you season the meat. Then repeat each layer once more, and season again. Add the sauce to the top, and the water. Cook on low for six to eight hours.
Serve with crusty bread, with parmesan cheese on top. Mm!