11 January 2011

Unstuffed cabbage. (AKA Uncovered piggies next to a blanket.)

My mother is a great cook. She taught me how to cook, so she’s got to be good. Her mother is also a fantastic cook. My mom and her mom are of Polish heritage. Without the internet to look up recipes, my grandmother only cooked Polish food. My mom didn’t have spaghetti at home until one of my aunts (her older sister) came home with the recipe. Mom said she was in middle school or high school. The majority of foods I know by heart are from my mom. The exception is sloppy joes that my dad taught me. My comfort foods involve cabbage in some form.

The few Polish words I know generally have to do with food. Gołąbki is rolled cabbage. (Gulumpki is the best way I can explain how to say it in print.) Gołąbki are what my family calls “pigs in a blanket.” (This is a normal translation from what I understand.) When I was in high school some kids were having a party I was attending. They told me they would be serving pigs in a blanket. I was so excited! I love pigs in a blanket!! So, I was so confused when they pointed to hot dogs wrapped in dough. HUH? I understood the correlation after looking at those hot dogs, but I really was expecting cabbage rolls. That was the beginning of realizing some of the words I knew were Polish and not English. Let’s not even talk about babushkas.

Cabbage is low- carb. The rice inside these piggys in their tasty blankets is not. Omit the rice, or replace it with shredded cauliflower (faux rice), and you have a low-carb meal… but it’s time consuming. Hours and hours. That’s why I love when my mom comes and makes a huge batch to freeze for me! (Thanks mom!)

I really need to credit Dana Carpenter with the original unstuffed recipe. I had never thought to slice up the cabbage and cook it as a skillet style recipe. Ingenious!

So, without further delay – because I know you’re salivating! Here’s my uncovered piggies next to a blanket:

1 medium diced onion (you can use ½ tsp onion powder if you didn’t have any onions)
1 – 2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
½ a head of cabbage, chopped
1-2 lbs of ground beef (preferences here – the boys like very meaty foods so I use more. I prefer equal amounts of cabbage to my beef but I guess we all can’t have what we want)
½ tsp of garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp of the following spices (you can add more per preference – I would say more of everything but the cinnamon and nutmeg actually):
Ground Cloves
Celery salt
Ground coriander seed
A whole lot of butter
1 can of tomato sauce – look for the lowest carb one you can find

Brown the meat and set it aside. Drain all the fat out of the pan. (I just can’t stand grocery store meat fat.) Put butter in the bottom of your pan. Probably more butter than you think you need. (I probably used at least 2 tbsp at first, and kept adding it.) This is where you cook the onions if you have them. Let them cook for two minutes or until they’re nice, soft and translucent. Then put your chopped cabbage into the skillet. Mix it around and let it get soft and buttery. This takes around 5 minutes on medium. You will notice the cabbage cooks down, so you can add it in batches if you need to. If you add more cabbage, add more butter.  Then sprinkle the spices over the cabbage and mix. After that’s warmed up add the meat back. Then add the tomato sauce. Heat everything up together and serve warm. Ta-da!

Don’t eat the bay leave. bleck. (But leave it in there overnight if you made extras… oooh!)

Here’s some food porn! Enjoy. 


  1. Just tried this for dinner tonight..yum!! The spices aren't the norm that we use and what a nice treat to do something different.


  2. I'm glad you liked it! Reece told me tonight "it tastes better than it looks!"