Golubtsi — meat swaddled in a cabbage leaf, like a tiny delicious baby.

Ah, cabbage, that ubiquitous vegetable cultivated for the last 1000 years in every country where it’s too cold to do anything outside for at least six months out of the year. I will not deny that we Russians love our cabbage, but it is a love that was born out of necessity, and at the risk of escalating into boredom, creative approaches were taken with the preparation of this most noble of leafy heads. But I digress.

Golubtsi (golubetz in the singular) are not a far cry from how I described them in the title — little handfuls of a mixture of beef, pork, and veal, mixed with rice and onions, lovingly wrapped into a cabbage leaf that’s been pounded into submission by a meat hammer. This is not an easy recipe, per se, only in the sense that there is a fair amount of preparation involved. You’ll notice many…

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