Malfouf - Stuffed Cabbage

     Malfouf, Middle Eastern cabbage rolls are one of my favorite foods, like, ever. The tangy, lemony, garlicky, rolls are so delicious. They are a bit time consuming to make but well worth it. I find they are best if you have a group to help you make them. It makes it more fun and less work for one individual. 

1 head cabbage
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 1/4 c. rice
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
3 heads of garlic, sliced
4 - 6 lemons
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baharat
6 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Cover the rice with water and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile bring a large pot or water to a boil. Cut a deep cut in the base of the cabbage all around the core. Place the head of cabbage, core side up, in the pot of boiling water. Leave to cook for 15 minutes. Remove the outer leaves as they soften leaving the head of cabbage in the pot to keep cooking the interior leaves. Place the leaves on a plate to cool. 

Drain the rice and mix with the ground beef, granulated garlic, salt, and baharat. Set aside.

For the larger outer leaves cut the vein out of the center and cut the leaves in half. For the smaller leaves, leave whole. 

Place 2 tablespoons of the rice and meat mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf in a long thin line. Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat mixture, tucking in the sides like a burrito about halfway through rolling. 

Using the same stock pot you boiled the cabbage in heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 second or just until fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the cabbage veins you removed earlier and any remaining cabbage leaves to the bottom of the pot. Place the filled cabbage rolls in the pan. Start around the edges and tuck them all in snuggly, layering as needed. 

Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice over the top. Add the juiced peels to the pot as well and pour the broth over the top. Place a plate on top of the cabbage rolls to keep them in place while they cook. 

Return the pan to the stove and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Remove from the heat and remove the cabbage rolls from the pan to a plate. Squeeze a lemon over the top and serve with parsley. 


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