These are the darling of the many ways with stuffed vegetables, Lebanese-style. Follow a few simple steps and you’ll be rolling up a storm! One large, 2-3 pound cabbage yields at least about 30 rolls, with several of those leaves cut in half. Serve the rolls with labneh.
1 large 2- to 3-pound cabbage
1 pound ground sirloin or other lean beef or lamb
1 cup medium grain or converted rice
4 oz. butter, melted (salted or unsalted is fine)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to season the tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups tomato juice
Prepare the cabbage:
1. Cut the core from the cabbage with a sharp knife.
2. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the cored head of cabbage and remove the leaves one by one.
3. In order to roll the blanched cabbage leaves, the thick rib must be cut out of the center of each leaf. On the small leaves, the rib can simply be shaved down rather than cut out entirely. On large leaves, cut the rib out and keep cutting the leaf in half lengthwise. Each leaf should be about six inches long. Some will be shorter, and some will be longer. This is fine. Place the trimmings and any very large, dark leaves in the bottom of a medium-sized heavy pot.
Make the filling:
1. Rinse the rice twice to remove some of the starch. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the uncooked rice with the melted butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and mint. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes for the rice to absorb the flavorings. Add the meat and mix with the rice mixture until combined.
Roll and cook:
1. Lay about a tablespoon of the stuffing on a cabbage leaf and spread the stuffing into a long row lengthwise along the leaf. Roll up the leaf around the meat without tucking the edges in. Stuff and roll each leaf, then place each roll in the prepared pan snugly against one another. Run each layer of rolls in opposite directions. Scatter the garlic cloves over the rolls throughout the pot. Place a small plate over the rolls to hold them down while they cook. Cover with the tomato juice. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the tomato juice. Make small meatballs with any leftover stuffing and place those in the pan.
2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot,and cook the leaves until the rice and meat are fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove the cover and allow the rolls to rest and cool slightly before serving.