Golabki which means 'little pigeons', vary in their seasoning and stuffing from region to region. Some use rice and meat or rice and mushrooms or even potatoes and onions. These can be made a day in advance and reheated when needed.

1 large cabbage (with big leaves)
175g long grain rice
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 cans mushrooms or 450g fresh mushrooms
50g butter
1 1/2 litres tomato juice, vegetable stock or mushroom stock
salt and pepper for seasoning

Slice through the base of the cabbage and cook in lightly salted boiling water until tender. When the leaves are tender, peel off. You may have to peel the first layers first and then return the cabbage to cook and continue peeling the leaves until all are done.
Boil the rice until just tender. Drain and set aside. Fry the onions in 50g butter until softened. Dice the mushrooms and fry lightly with the onions. Mix with the rice and season well. Place a spoonful of the rice mixture in each cabbage leaf and wrap it carefully, folding the ends under like a parcel.
Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Grease a roasting pan and fill it with cabbage parcels, packing them tightly together. Pour over enough tomato juice, vegetable stock or mushroom stock to cover them. Cover and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cabbage parcels lightly. Serves 6.

Another favourite of mine. Peter and I had our first try at making them and you should have seen the mess we made in the kitchen!! There is a variety of filling which you can try. Some use potatoes or mushrooms and some like it sweet and fill them with fruit. It is recommended that if you use mashed potatoes, the filling should be made at least a day in advance and refrigerated to allow it to dry.

For the dough:
300g plain flour
1 egg
warm water

For the filling:
450g sauerkraut
150g butter
1 onion
110g fresh mushrooms
sour cream to serve

To make the dough, sift the flour, add the egg, salt and sufficient warm water to make a loose dough which holds in shape. Divide the dough into quarters and roll out thinly. Cut out circles 8.5cm in diameter.
To make the filling, chop the sauerkraut finely and saute in 50g of butter. Chop the onion and fry in 25g butter. Dice the mushrooms and fry in remaining butter. Mix everything together.
Place a heaped tablespoon of filling on each circle, fold over and press the edges firmly together to prevent them from opening while cooking. They should be well filled. Bring some salted water to boil and drop the pierogi (a few at a time). When they rise to the surface, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and serve with sour cream. Serves 8.

You may not get it right the first time, but lots of practise makes perfect.

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