Halupki: Coal region specialty available this weekend in Nesquehoning
Finished halupkis sit on trays in the social hall of St. John the Baptist A.R. Orthodox Church in Nesquehoning. Members of the church recently gathered to make over 200 of the stuffed cabbage rolls in preparation of their annual basket raffle this weekend. AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS
ABOVE: Olga Harrison stuffs a cabbage leaf with the meat filling.
LEFT: Teddy Pathroff begins the process of mixing the beef, pork and rice mixture for the halupki filling.
Olga Harrison stuffs a cabbage leaf with the meat filling.
Olga Harrison stuffs a cabbage leaf with meat filling.
From left, Mary Gerhard, Nancy Kerestus and Marie Ronemus stuff halupki. See a video and photo gallery at tnonline.com.
Marie Ronemus scoops out meat mixture to create a meat ball for the halupki.
Julie Hallahan rolls meat to be stuffed inside a cabbage leaf for the halupki as Susie Bortnick rolls a leaf.
Marie Ronemus scoops out meat mix to create a meat ball that will be stuffed in a cabbage leaf.
Teddy Pathroff places the finished halupki in a large stock pot. Once filled, the cabbage rolls are covered in a tomato soup and water mix and boiled.
The fried down onions.
Rice is an essential part to halupki making.
Members of St. John the Baptist A.R. Orthodox Church in Nesquehoning recently made over 200 halupki in preparation for the church’s annual basket raffle this weekend.
Halupki — an ethnic delicacy that delights the taste buds of many in the coal region.
The stuffed rolls are a mixture of beef, pork and rice, wrapped up tightly in a wilted cabbage leaf and cooked in a tomato bath that marries the various tastes into a unique blend of flavors.
Recently, members of St. John the Baptist A.R. Orthodox Church in Nesquehoning gathered in the church social hall to make over 200 halupki in preparation of their upcoming church basket raffle.
Teddy Pathroff, one of the church members, took a few minutes to talk about the process of making these tasty little bundles.
“You boil the cabbage heads and wilt them,” he said. “Then you make the meat mixture, which is part beef and part pork, add your onions that have been fried down, salt and pepper and of course rice, then mix it and wrap a meat ball in a cabbage leaf.
“Once your halupkis are wrapped, we boil them on the stove in a tomato soup and water bath for an hour-and-a-half.
“They come out pretty delicious,” he said.
The church members who were making the halupki were all pros at the art of stuffing the little rolls and made the process of wrapping them look very easy.
Pathroff mixed the 35 pounds of meat for the day, while Ed Kerestus and Marie Ronemus formed the meat filling balls.
From there, Olga Harrison, Nancy Kerestus, Julie Hallahan, Susie Bortnick, Peggy Teklinski and Mary Gerhard wrapped a cabbage leaf around the meat filling balls, making sure the ends were tucked tightly so they wouldn’t open during cooking.
Harrison, who clearly had years of practice wrapping halupkis, was always looking through the leaves, picking out the good ones.
“I’m looking for the best (leaves),” she said, pointing out a few that didn’t pass her inspection.
She explained that you want to use leaves that don’t have rips, which could cause the halupki to fall apart during cooking.
The halupkis are just one of the many homemade goodies St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church will be serving this weekend at the raffle. Other food items include macaroni and cheese; halushki; ham and bean, turkey barley and turkey noodle soups; hot dogs; turkey barbecue; and pirohi.
The basket raffle will take place in the church social hall, located at 9 W. Railroad St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, with a preview day from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday for those who cannot make it on Saturday. The kitchen will be open for food purchases both days.
“We put a lot of hard work in,” said Nancy Kerestus. “Our annual basket raffle is our largest fundraiser that helps us keep our doors open.”
For more information on the raffle or to see some of the approximately 200 baskets, gift cards and special prizes, including a new wine raffle, visit the church’s Facebook page at St. John the Baptist A.R. Orthodox Church of Nesquehoning.