PAULOCHIK HALUPKI RECIPE
- as taught by Andrew Paulochik (born 1897 in Vinne, Slovakia) to his son Edmund Paul (born 1932 in Spangler, PA), who taught his son Paul Michael (born 1959 in Windber, PA)
WARNING! Do not attempt this recipe with a cold or stuffed nose. Adding the dry ingredients to the meat is based on smell, not measured amounts - grandpa butchered animals on the farm and was a cook in the Hungarian Army in WW I, and he figured you can't count on the animals to give the same quality meat every time! Also, wash hands well and mix the meat with bare hands! ! ! Rubber or plastic gloves leave a taste behind, and even wooden mixing spoons just don't do the job.
Prepare the cabbage - puncture the core with a knife, and boil about 45 minutes (if using two heads, boil separately). After cooling, prepare the leaves - pull them off the head in as large a piece as you can. You'll probably have to take thin slices off the spines and thicker veins.
Mix the meat together and smell it. Remember the smell of the meat. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, and knead the mixture by hand. Smell again. Keep adding salt and pepper until it just barely masks the smell of the meat.
Cook the rice until all the water is absorbed. Set aside.
Mix the eggs into the meat mixture. Smell the mixture - remember the smell. Sprinkle in a little garlic powder and paprika; knead well. Keep mixing in small amounts of garlic powder and paprika until you can detect a garlic smell. Add the juice from the sauerkraut, the rice, sauteed onions, and 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly.
Put a small amount of oil in the bottom of a BIG pot. Roll a small handful of the meat mixture into a firm oval; wrap with a cabbage leaf. Tuck the edges into the roll. Line the bottom of the pot with the halupki; cover with a little bit of the sauerkraut, some tomato sauce, and a layer of leaves.
Keep building layers, using the "bad" and small cabbage leaves for the layering. Top with the crushed tomatoes, remaining sauerkraut, and the very top is cabbage leaves. Add enough water to totally cover.
Stick a wooden spoon down to the bottom (CAREFULLY, along the side of the pot) to break any air bubbles between the layers - do NOT puncture any of the halupki! - and add more water, if necessary. Repeat this several times, because air between the layers will make a terrific mess when the pot begins to boil!
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down; simmer for at least four hours, then keep warm until served. We always prepare the halupki the night before - simmer two hours, turn off the heat overnight (do NOT refrigerate ! ! Just leave the pot on the stove), and simmer another two hours the next morning.
Serve with mashed potatoes and milk - although a dry white wine also works well. A lot of work, but well worth it!
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