Pigeons, are a coal region favorite and are composed of hamburger and rice, which is wrapped in a cabbage leaf and then boiled (in the old days) and baked (in modern days) in a tomato sauce. A cherished food, but rarely heard of outside of the area. In some towns south of my town of Kulpmont, they call these “Halupkies” but I prefer to call them pigeons.
1 medium sized head of cabbage
1 lb. ground hamburger (80% lean)
1 lb. ground pork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ cup ground Pecorino Romano
1 cup prepared instant white rice
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 large jumbo eggs
1 cup bread crumbs or 5-6 slices fresh bread ground in food processor (see my recipe on making your own bread crumbs)
1 large can tomato juice
2 cans tomato soup
Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. Add your cabbage. Using thongs or two spoons, as each leaf is starting to slide down off cabbage, remove and place in a bowl.
Pre-heat oven to 375°. Mix the hamburger, pork, salt, pepper, cheese, rice, parsley, eggs, and bread crumbs in a large bowl.
Add 1 can of tomato soup to the large can tomato juice and mix with a large wooden spoon. Pour about ¼ to ½ of the juice into a large baking pan or roaster.
Take a cabbage leaf and stuff with the pigeon mixture. Add about a large meatball-sized amount to the cabbage, bring in the sides and roll. Add to pan. Continue rolling till all are gone. Make the small size. They taste better. Shred with your hands any remaining cabbage and throw on top of the pigeons. Pour the rest of the tomato juice with addition of another can tomato soup over the pigeons. Sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Cover and bake 2 hours in the oven.