Tony Packo's Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Also known as Pigs in The Blanket or Golabki.
Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, home of the world famous Tony Packo's, I'd be disowned by my hometown if I didn't mention a recipe for their signature dish: Hungarian cabbage rolls. If you're not familiar with the restaurant, you can ask the cast from the hit series M.A.S.H. who scripted in references to the restaurant into almost every episode of the show. Presidential signatures dating back to the restaurant's founding in 1932 line the walls as well most everyone from Hollywood.

Our family recipe however, which is so similar, descended from Europe just as as I'm sure Tony's did. It's that one family recipe that's been passed down from generation to generation and very near and dear to my heart. As a child I'd come home and immediately know what was for dinner the moment I hit the front yard. It put a smile on everyone's face and was a comfort food that reminded us how great life was. Re-inventing it for a whole new generation is an honor, perfecting it was a challenge, but this  version is truly a rite of passage which I can proudly say stays true to its humble beginnings.

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 large head of green cabbage
  • 2 large cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 small can of sauerkraut
  • 1 teaspoons of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream
  1. Cook the 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water (or vegetable broth) till soft.
  2. Place head of cabbage in a large pot and fill with water, bring to boil, then remove from heat.
  3. Chop onions and garlic, grill on stove-top with a bit of oil or butter till al dente.
  4. Take large mixing bowl and into it place the pork, beef, rice, onions, garlic, seasonings, egg. Mix by hand.
  5. Remove and separate full leaves of cabbage off head. Take hand sized lumps of meat mixture and place on a cabbage leaf. Roll cabbage leaves around meat in a burrito-like fashion tucking both ends in.
  6. Pour a thin layer of tomato sauce in a large pot (or crock pot). Place rolled stuffed cabbage into pot(s). In between each layer, add more sauce. Finally, fill pot with remaining tomato sauce(s).
  7. Drain sauerkraut and add to pot.
  8. Place lid(s) on pot(s). Set timer for a minimum of 2 hours and simmer on a low heat adding water as needed to keep rolls covered. Cook time may vary depending on heat level, and number of "pigs"/rolls in pot. Average cook-time is about 2.5-4 hours, if you can wait that long.
  9. Garnish with sour-cream or mix sour-cream in with tomato sauce, depending on preference.

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