- One large head green Cabbage
- 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
- 1/4-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large cloves garlic, cracked
Step 1 – Core cabbage
Turn the cabbage upside down and cut in (at an angle) and around the core to remove it.
Step 2 – Soften cabbage leaves
Bring a large pot of water to boil. 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 8 cups of the water and discard the rest.
Step 3 – Make the 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.
Step 4 – Stuff the cabbage 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 used to boil the water. Arrange the cabbage in a circular pattern along the bottom of the pan and then start to stack them on top of one another in the same pattern.
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. After 20 minutes check the water level – tilt the pan and see if water comes up on the side of the pot. If not, add 2 more cups of water.
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.