Favorite childhood dishes these days often include the likes of mac and cheese, chicken tenders, or buttered noodles. While I have, since childhood, been a devout fan of mac and cheese (the real homemade kind, baked with toasty, buttery bread crumbs on top), I also had some not-as-typical food loves growing up in my home. Galumpkis were (and still are) at the top of that list.
Galumpkis are an Eastern European dish also known more standardly in the U.S. as stuffed cabbage and are traditionally served in a vinegary tomato sauce.
To prepare traditional galumpkis, a large amount of time is required. Cabbage needs to be precisely cut and boiled, meat needs to be browned and mixed with seasoning and cooked rice, sauce needs to be prepared, and then it all must simmer stove-top or bake in the oven. Then, if serving alongside mashed potatoes, like our family does, those need to be prepared too.
Fortunately for me, I have a mother who was dedicated to preparing wholesome, homemade dinners for our family every night that included this type of meal that required such serious preparation. Fortunately, also, she was willing to share her recipe so that I could re-create her dish to make a much more time-friendly version of the meal that I not only gobbled up as a little girl on any given night it was made, but that I have also even requested for birthday dinners. This far-quicker slow cooker recipe (with the most minimal of prep time) is as close as I could get to composing my mother’s own rendition of our family’s favorite Polish meal.
I love to spoon this over (or alongside) mashed potatoes (these smashed potatoes are a quick and easy accompaniment), but you can serve on its own (as pictured), or with rice as well.
- 2 pounds beef
- 4 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 20 oz of tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cup diced onions (either fresh or frozen)
- 1 cabbage
- 4 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Set slow cooker to cook on high for 6 hours.
- Line the slow cooker with two cans of the diced tomatoes.
- Add beef and diced onions.
- Pour in remaining 2 cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Slice cabbage into fourths or eighths and stack leaves on top of tomato and beef mixture (there should be some separation, but leaves can be stuck together in piles of 2 or 3).
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vinegar on top of cabbage.
- If possible, about halfway through cooking time, use tongs to move around the ingredients, break up beef, and incorporate ingredients.
- Don’t worry about the size of the cabbage leaves. Once fully cooked, they will be easily cut with a serving spoon or spatula.
- If you want a major emphasis on meat, add another half to full pound of beef to the recipe.
- Because the beef isn’t drained of its fat like it would be in a traditional cabbage roll, using a leaner cut may be preferred. For this recipe, a 93% lean ground beef was used.
- Any ground meat (chicken or turkey, for example) can be substituted.
- If you want less liquid in the dish, drain half of the tomatoes before adding.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, in addition to draining tomatoes you can substitute 1 to 2 cans of tomato sauce for diced tomatoes.
- Serve on its own in a bowl, over rice, or over mashed or baked potatoes.