Stuffed cabbage is a popular dish around the world made in a variety of ways and flavors. I learned how to make Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls from my mother who by the way is the best cook ever. The Lebanese version of stuffed cabbage is made with tender cabbage leaves stuffed with lamb or beef and rice combination and is infused with the flavors of
cinnamon, allspice, and lemon with a hint of garlic and mint. When my mother made stuffed cabbage rolls, I would smell the wonderful aroma of garlic, mint and lemon the minute I walk in from school.
Let me tell you it really is very simple and easy to make stuffed cabbage. However, it does take about 25 minutes to blanch, stuff and roll the cabbage leaves; but it can even be quicker if you get another person to work with you.
I start by blanching the cabbage leaves in boiling water for about 5 minutes until the leaves are tender. The leaves are then stuffed with a meat and rice combination and placed closely in a large dutch oven and cooked over low heat for about an hour. The slow cooking infuses the cabbage with the mild flavor of garlic, mint and a fresh lemony taste.
A small time invested in preparing this delicious meal is well worth it. Serve it with lemon wedges and pita bread.
- 1 small green cabbage
- 1 cup of rice, rinsed
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 cups water
- 6-8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- Trim bottom of green cabbage and separate the leaves.
- Blanch cabbage leaves in a large boiling pot of water for 5 minutes.
- Transfer blanched cabbage leaves to a colander. Run cold water over them to stop cooking.
- In a large glass bowl, combine the rice, meat allspice, mixed spice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Mix well with clean hands.
- On a cutting board, place the blanched cabbage leaf smooth side down with the veins facing upward. Cut the leaf in half down the middle (through the main center vain of the leaf).
- Based on the size of the leaf, place a small amount of meat rice mixture in middle of the leaf. Roll the leaf firmly, but not too tight, over the stuffing.
- Line the bottom of a large dutch oven with rolled cabbage leaves, placing them closely together but not tightly packed so they can properly cook.
- After all leaves are rolled, place a heavy plate, inverted/face down, over the rolled cabbage leaves in dutch oven to keep them together while cooking.
- Add water and cook over low heat for about 45-50 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Combine crushed garlic, dried mint and add to rolled cabbage. Add lemon juice and cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer the cabbage rolls to a serving dish. Serve warm with lemon wedges and pita bread.