Golubtsi are irresistible cabbage rolls stuffed with meat. They take a little while to make, but are so worth it!
- 8 medium rainbow chard, stalks removed
- 2 onions, 1 finely chopped, 1 thinly sliced
- 100g/3½oz cooked, cooled brown rice
- 200g/7oz pork mince
- 200g/7oz beef mince
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by softening the chard leaves slightly – I usually steam them for 5–8 minutes, but you can also put them into a large bowl and pour some hot water over. They need to just soften to become more pliable.
Mix the finely chopped onion and cooked, cool rice, mince, carrot and salt and freshly ground black pepper together in a bowl. Use your hands if you like.
To assemble, lay a chard leaf on a clean work surface and put 1 heaped teaspoon of the filling close to the stalk end, then flip the bottom of the leaf up and over the filling. Fold in the sides and roll up as tightly as possible, leaving the finished roll on the worktop, seam-side down. Repeat with the rest of the chard and filling.
Choose a saucepan or cast-iron casserole with a lid that will hold the chard-leaf rolls snugly in a single layer. Heat the oil in the casserole over a medium heat and cook the thinly sliced onion until soft, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until it smells sweet and mellow.
Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down into a sauce. Whisk in the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and carefully add the rolls, seam side down, then cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Serve hot with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.
This recipe used a mixture of pork and beef mince, but lamb mince also works well. If you’re not worried about tears, you can also grate the first onion instead of chopping it into fine dice. For a vegetarian alternative, use chopped chard stalks and chopped mushrooms instead of mince.