Cabbage Rolls in Paprika Tomato Sauce with Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes‏

Cabbage Rolls in Paprika Tomato Sauce with Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes‏

I can’t find my words.

Sidelined by work and a much needed breather from nearly one and a half years of 22+ posts a month, it’s been almost two weeks since my last entry, the longest stretch by far between absurd metaphors (and bullshit) since religiously picking up this blog in April of last year. You’d think that two weeks wouldn’t be much to throw me off my rhythm, but apparently it is.

Sitting here at the breakfast table, the flavor from my black coffee dissipating as it cools, I stare blankly at the screen and struggle to find the right words to describe this comforting dish of cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes that my wife so lovingly made for us just a couple of nights prior. If you’ve been following this blog, then you already know that Ren comes from a family of very capable cooks, beginning with her mother and grandmother from whom she inherited the passion for cooking along with a few secret family recipes.

Unlike yours truly who was pretty much raised on familiar comfort foods like barbecue and fried chicken, Ren’s been exposed to global cuisine since childhood, with dishes like pamplina, shepherd’s pie, and chicken mole routinely making their way to the dinner table. These cabbage rolls, which she fondly knew growing up as “pigs in a blanket”, were among her favorites.

Making enough for two or three meals, I have the good fortune of enjoying this hearty dish for lunch again this afternoon. Now even bolder in flavor after resting for a couple of days and served with a side of zingy gremolata, I’m certain that the ebullient flavors from this dish will help me rediscover my words and get me back into the blogging groove.

After all, redolent, lovingly made Reneelicious Recipes like this one is what inspired me to start blogging in the first place. 😉

Cabbage Rolls in Paprika Tomato Sauce with Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes‏



  • 9 slices white bread with crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 kilo lean ground pork
  • 1/4 kilo lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsps chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • Large cabbage leaves


  • 5 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tsps sweet smoked paprika or pimenton
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 leaves fresh sage (1 tsp dried) or 4 sprigs thyme (1 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 kilo potatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 2 Tbsps butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper



  1. Prepare filling by furst putting bread cubes in small mixing bowl. Add milk and allow bread to soak until completely saturated. Squeeze out excess milk with hands. Discard milk then add soaked bread to large mixing bowl together with meat, parsley, sage, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating.
  2. Bring pot of water to boil and prepare large bowl filled with ice water. Add cabbage leaves to pot and blanch in boiling water until just slightly wilted (about 1 minute). Drain then immediately transfer leaves to ice water. When leaves are cold, remove from water and pat dry.
  3. Place heaping 1/2 cup of filling in center of each cabbage leaf. Fold sides of leaf over filling, then beginning from the stem end, roll up leaf into compact bundle. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. While oven is heating up, prepare sauce by heating large heatproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until vegetables are translucent. Add tomato paste and paprika and saute briefly. Stir in chicken stock, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Neatly arrange stuffed cabbage leaves in single layer in saucepan. Bring sauce back to a boil. Transfer pan to preheated oven and bake until bundles are cooked through and firm to the touch (around 25-30 minutes).
  7. To serve, use large spoon to transfer rolls to platter or individual heated plates. Spoon sauce over and around rolls. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes (recipe below).


  1. Put potatoes into large saucepan and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender. Drain potatoes and return to low heat for 2-3 minutes to dry up any excess water.
  2. Put cream and butter into small saucepan and place over medium heat, or heat in microwave until butter has melted into the cream.
  3. Using a masher, mash potatoes in saucepan. Add garlic, cream, butter, salt, and pepper and mix well using a large spoon.


That stuffed cabbage rolls are the epitome of Polish comfort food? Common to the ethnic cuisines of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Finland, and Sweden, stuffed cabbage rolls are referred to as gołąbki (gaw-WOHMP-kee) in Poland, which literally means “little pigeons.”

Original Source

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He’s the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don’t listen to him.

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