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Really Tasty Tomato Sauce For Stuffed Cabbage (Golabki)

monavano Oct 1, 2013 09:08 AM

I've been making Polish stuffed cabbage for years, and eating it all my life. I feel like I've improved on my mother's basic recipe and am happy with the meat and rice stuffing, but I'd like to kick up the tomato sauce a notch or two.
Mom made the tomato sauce with Campbell's tomato soup and ketchup. She'd also lay raw bacon across the top, which I do from time to time.
My tomato sauce varies from just fresh tomato sauce or canned sauce/puree, to adding sweet and sour components like vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, agave, ketchup etc.
So, does anyone have a favorite tomato sauce recipe for stuffed cabbage that is good enough to hold its own along with the stuffed cabbage itself?
I need inspiration!

  1. h
    hovirag Oct 2, 2013 08:38 AM

    interesting, stuffed cabbage is a national dish for us, but would NEVER EVER put tomato sauce in it!

    we serve it with sour cream :)

    maybe you could try to do it next time in this way - and use only fermented cabbage leaves!

    3 Replies
    1. re: hovirag
      monavano Oct 2, 2013 09:45 AM

      I do want to try it with a lemon sauce or sour cream sauce.
      In a way, sour cream becomes a sort of sauce for my golabki. When I make it, it's always with mashed potatoes and cucumber salad with sour cream dressing.
      The best part of the meal is when it all melds together ;-)

      Can you share your recipe for your sauce?

      1. re: monavano
        hovirag Oct 2, 2013 10:59 AM

        sorry for the confusion - I didn't mean sauce - we just put sour cream on it and it melts :) so no recipe needed for this!

        and we eat it with bread only, no side dish - it is a fulfilling dish on its own
        hope this helps :)

        1. re: hovirag
          monavano Oct 2, 2013 11:11 AM

          Got it! Yes, sour cream is a must.
          Growing up, this meal was a trinity of golabki, mashed potatoes and cuke salad. Keeping that tradition is very comforting and Proustian for me ;-)

    2. m
      magiesmom Oct 2, 2013 05:11 AM

      I like a smooth tomato sauce with prunes and cider vinegar.

      4 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom
        monavano Oct 2, 2013 06:08 AM

        Prunes... now that really interests me. They were prominent in Polish cooking and baking.

        1. re: monavano
          HillJ Oct 2, 2013 06:36 AM

          Prunes add a nice sweetness and richness to the sauce. I've not made the sauce this way myself but I have tasted the sauce prepared using dried prunes and it was tasty.

          1. re: monavano
            magiesmom Oct 2, 2013 08:25 AM

            You don't need too many, but they lend both a sweetness and silky texture.

            1. re: magiesmom
              monavano Oct 2, 2013 09:45 AM

              I'm sold-- will definitely give this a try.

        2. HillJ Oct 1, 2013 01:13 PM

          this version is pretty close to what I've always followed. The only thing I add to the tomato sauce not listed is cider vinegar; just 2 T. for added kick.

          2 Replies
          1. re: HillJ
            free sample addict aka Tracy L Oct 1, 2013 08:49 PM

            Thanks for posting this recipe, I am looking for a cabbage roll sauce as well. I have always liked the sweet and sour style sauce. I like that you add cider vinegar.

            1. re: HillJ
              monavano Oct 2, 2013 04:05 AM

              Looks good, thanks!
              Getting inspired... it's golabki weather!

            2. caganer Oct 1, 2013 01:08 PM

              My wife is part Slovak and her family uses the soup too, which I don't really like. I used pureed tomato, onion and homemade chicken stock the last time and it worked well

              1. c
                ChiliDude Oct 1, 2013 12:19 PM

                My wife of 53+ years is of Italian descent and uses a combination of Colavita and Hunt's No Salt Added sauces for pasta dishes. I like Classico sauces. Stay away from the cheap ones that have High Fructose Corn Sweetener as an ingredient. Read the ingredient list on the label before you buy any commercial tomato sauces.

                My wife also adds some red wine to the canned products as she prepares the sauce combination for dinner. Maybe that'll kick the sauce up a notch for you.

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