This dish was called "halupkies" in Sheffield, Pa. where I grew up. Almost every household in Sheffield made their version of it; there were almost as many versions of halupkies as there were ethnic groups.
I always thought halupkies were Polish in origin.
Later I came across a wonderful Czechoslovakian lady named Helen Kasparyzck, and she made
"gwumpkies". These were very
similar; see instructions in the footnotes. She served these with mashed potatoes and used the "sauce" for gravy. Either way, both
versions are delicious. I never did get a recipe for these
so a big THANK YOU goes out to all the good cooks in Sheffield
for their inspiration. The biggest thanks goes to my husband Denny's mother, Glenna Danielson, who made the best
halupkies ever even if she wasn't Polish!"
Remove any stained or discolored outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. With stem side up, use a large knife to make deep cuts into cabbage close to the stem, going in a circle around the stem as you cut (this facilitates the removal of the leaves after steaming cabbage).
Place the cabbage in a large pot, stem-side up. Add enough water to pot to cover cabbage by one-half. Cover pot and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and allow cabbage to steam for 10 minutes.
Using long tined fork, remove cabbage from pot to work surface. Remove as many wilted leaves as will come off and set them aside. Deepen cuts around stem of cabbage, return to pot, and continue to steam until as many good sized, wilted leaves as possible can be removed from head. (Do not discard steaming water; set aside for later use).
Starting at stem end of cabbage leaf, place about one heaping tablespoon of the meat filling just off center. You can use more filling if the leaf is one of the first ones removed and is really large. Roll towards center, tucking leaf under as you go. Now fold right and left sides into the middle and continue to roll cabbage leaf until meat filling is completely enclosed. Continue in same fashion until all leaves are filled or you run out of meat mixture.
Place filled halupkies into Dutch oven or small roaster, seam side down (they will look like little pillows). If any meat filling remains, make it into "porcupine" meat balls and add to the Dutch oven. If any cabbage remains (and it will), cut it up and also place in Dutch oven.
Pour the reserved cabbage water over the halupkies and add enough water or
chicken broth to cover halupkies by about 1
inch. Cover Dutch oven and bring contents just to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook at a simmer for about 1-1/2 hours. DO NOT
boil hard or your halupkies will come undone and you will have floating cabbage
plus porcupine meatballs.
Serving Ideas : Offer mashed potatoes and a cucumber and onion salad with vinaigrette dressing. Sprinkle a little dried dill over salad and chill well before serving. Pass the horseradish!
Note #1: Czechoslovakian Helen Kasparyzck made
"gwumpkies". These were very similar to halupkies, but in this version you covered the top of the cabbage rolls with rinsed sauerkraut, sprinkled the sauerkraut with
about one or two tablespoons of brown sugar, then poured tomato juice over all and
baked them, covered, in a 350░F
oven for about 2 hours. Helen served these with mashed potatoes and used the "sauce" for gravy.
Either way, both
versions of cabbage rolls are delicious.