Submitted by mapleshade on

Burlington County Library System presents a new series that shares family recipes. In this first post, we feature a Ukrainian favorite, galumpkis!

As we have noted in previous blog posts, cooking is a wonderful learning opportunity for families. When we cook with children, we reinforce math and science skills. But cooking also gives us an opportunity to share family traditions and cultures. With this new series, we present family recipes so that you can discover more ways to connect with your own families.

Cooking is a delicious way to keep a family history alive and build cherished memories. As soon as Burlington County's Ukrainian American families take a bite of cabbage rolls, memories of playing with nesting dolls on Christmas Eve, intricate red embroidery on white cloth, and the language of a far-off village come racing back. We want to give you a taste of our memories and a chance to cook together! Listed below is a recipe for cabbage rolls, also known as galumpkis or holubsti. So often there are multiple names for the same dish, such as pierogies/vareniki, soda/pop, pork roll/Taylor Ham. Just like names for foods differ by region, so do the ingredients. Our BCLS recipe for cabbage rolls may not look exactly like your Baba’s, but we assure you they are delicious!

  • 6 pounds meatloaf mix
    (beef, veal and pork)
  • 2 cans of corned beef
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 2 large heads of cabbage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic
Two galumpkis sit on a blue plate  
A single piece of cabbage is laid out on the counter. Prepare the cabbage:
  • Core the cabbage
  • Boil the cabbage until soft, about 30 minutes. You want to be able to roll the cabbage without it tearing.
  • Remove leaves and let cool.
  • Trim the thick spine. If not, you will not be able to roll the cabbage.
Two hands reach into the frame and wrap a rice/meat mixture with the cabbage. Prepare filling:
  • While the cabbage is boiling, cook rice al dente. It will continue cooking in the oven.
  • Mix cooked rice with raw meat and corned beef, salt, pepper and any other veggies you’d like to add in. (Mushrooms and carrots would be great!)
  • This step is perfect for even the smallest children because they use their hands to mix all the ingredients together!
Two hands hold an uncooked galumpki in place, making sure it is wrapped properly. Prepare cabbage rolls: (This step is perfect for kids!)
  • Hold the cabbage leaf so the spine is facing you.
  • Take a handful of filling, pat into an oval and place near the spine of the cabbage leaf.
  • How much filling you add depends on the size of your leaves. You want it to be filled enough that it doesn’t open up, but not too full that it bursts.
  • Roll the mixture with the bottom of the cabbage leaf, tuck the left and the right of the leaf in and then continue rolling.
Several galumpkis sit in a small bowl. Prepare to bake cabbage rolls:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 F
  • Line a large roasting pan with some oil, garlic cloves and any unused cabbage leaves.
  • Nestle in all the beautiful cabbage rolls you prepared, snugly. (Picture a can of anchovies.)
  • Bake for 60 minutes.
Galumpkis cook in a pot with red sauce on top. Finish the cabbage rolls:
  • After baking for 60 minutes, pour one can of tomato sauce over the galumpkis.
  • Continue baking for 30 minutes.

If you would like to see more recipes like this, please check out the books below! While these books are not strictly Ukrainian, they are similar fare. If you’d like to add some more family reading to your diet, we recommend the picture books below. They feature families cooking together!