Happy December, We have Halupki!
Halupki. Let’s all say it together HAL-OOP-KEY.
This simple dish with the tricky name has many variations and fillings depending on the soil you stand on. In Sweden the steamed cabbage rolls, Kåldolmar, are often filled with pork, potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam. In Egypt, you would order the maḥshī koronb, knowing it would be a vegetarian dish and flavored with onion, tomato, mint, dill & cumin.
The Halupki you will find at Baba’s is of the Polish variation that swept southern parts of Pennsylvania and New York trickling down into North Eastern Ohio. Dan’s great-grandmother, Baba, solidified this single dish into the fabric of Dan’s family. Both his grandmother and mother would prepare this dish around the holidays or many large family gatherings.
Dan’s secret weapon is the seasoned pan that has been passed down three generations. This simple, lightweight, aluminum pan seems to hold super seasoning powers. Halupki made from others pans may be edible, may even be tasty, but there is a definitive difference in flavors.
The cabbage is steamed to soften and sweeten. The mix of ground beef, rice, salt & pepper are hand rolled into each leaf. Baba’s pan is lined with shredded cabbage, tomato paste and tomato sauce. As the first layer of the rolled delights are placed in the pan, the process is repeated until the pan is full. Placed in the oven for a long slow cook all that isleft to do is gripe that it’s taking so long and let that distinct, sweet, smell seep into your clothing in hopes to carry that warm feeling with you all day.
Any lover of comfort food will find this dish satisfying and good for the soul. We will not always have this available, but the is always a chance Dan wants to feed that cozy vibe and pull of a batch on a random Tuesday at 3 am.