Stuffed Cabbage

One large head green Cabbage
1/4-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic, cracked
3/4 pound ground beef (10% fat)
1 cup short grain white rice, rinsed (long grain rice works just fine)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon crushed dried mint

Turn the cabbage upside down and cut in (at an angle) and around the core to remove it.


Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Add the cored cabbage and cook for about two minutes or until the top layer of the cabbage leaves are tender and easy to remove. Using a tong remove the top few leaves and place in a covered bowl. Every few minutes remove more of the leaves as they become easy to pull off. The entire process takes about 10 minutes. Reserve 2 quarts of the water and discard the rest.


Meat filling:
Put the rice in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. Add the spices and mix well. Add the meat. Using two forks, break apart the meat while mixing with the rice. The goal is to incorporate the rice well, while not overworking the meat.


Stuffing the leaves: Lay out one cabbage leaf on a plate. Cut into the core of the leaf.
Place two tablespoons of the meat mixture onto the leaf and spread horizontally. Roll it up like a cigar. The leaves get significantly smaller as you reach the center of the cabbage, so make sure to use less and less filling as you go along.

As you roll each cabbage, place them into the pot you used to boil the water. Arrange the cabbage in a circular pattern along the bottom of the pan and then start to stack them.

Add 3 cups of the reserved cooking water. Place over high heat until it reaches a boil. Then turn down, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking add the lemon juice, garlic and dried mint. Shake the pot about a little to help the juice incorporate into the cooking liquid.

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