Malfouf - Lebanese Cabbage Rolls
This is the recipe I've made for many years. I learned to love malfouf
when I was 16 years old and had it in a little middle eastern restaurant
in Washington, DC owned by the Saab family. (not the car people) I've
always made it with ground lamb. terry
Malfouf - Lebanese Cabbage Rolls
Recipe by: unknown
3/4 cup rice
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds coarse ground beef (chuck or round)
1/2 cup water (or 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup tomato juice)
dash of allspice (optional)
For the rolls:
2 head cabbage
1 tablespoons salt
3 clove garlic -- peeled
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh -- not frozen)
For the filling: Place rice in a mixing bowl. Rinse and drain well. Add
butter, salt, pepper and cinnamon, and mix together. Combine meat with
rice mixture, adding water (and tomato juice, if desired) for moisture to
create a pliable filling.
For the rolls: Cut the core from each cabbage head so that leaves are
free from core. Boil enough water in a pot to cover a cabbage head. Add 1
tablespoon salt. Place a cabbage head in the boiling water with core end
down. Allow it to cook 3 to 5 minutes, using a wooden or plastic spoon to
turn occasionally and nudge leaves loose from head. Using tongs that
won't tear leaves, pull leaves off 1 at a time as they wilt. They should
be soft enough to roll like a cigar, but not mushy. Set aside in a pan
until cool enough to handle. Repeat with second cabbage head in same
water (or work with two pots, 1 for each cabbage). When all leaves have
been softened and cooled, cut large leaves in half from top to bottom so
they are about the size of the palm of your hand from finger tip to wrist.
Cut off ribs and set aside. On smaller and medium leaves, shave or trim
the heavy ribs with a knife so they are thin and pliable enough to roll.
Reserve torn leaves or any that are too small to roll.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon filling at the bottom of each leaf and roll as
you might a cigar. Trim ragged edges. To cook, line the bottom of a
Dutch oven with reserved leaves and ribs. This lining prevents the
cabbage rolls from burning. Lay cabbage rolls neatly in rows and layers,
alternating direction on each layer. Place garlic cloves between the
layers. When all rolls have been placed, lay unused small leaves over the
top. Place an inverted saucer or plate almost as large as the pan over
the top layer. In a separate pan, combine tomato paste, 1 1/2 cups
boiling, salted water and lemon juice. Sprinkle with a dash of pepper and
cinnamon. Taste and add more salt if desired. Pour liquid mixture over
the cabbage rolls until it barely covers the top layer. Add more water to
the liquid mixture if necessary. You may want to tip the pan from side to
side a bit to make sure liquid is evenly distributed.
Cover and bring the cabbage rolls to a boil. (To avoid scorching the
cabbage, do not do this quickly.) Reduce heat and simmer about 1 1/2
hours. Taste for tenderness. Add a bit more lemon juice to pot if you
prefer tart flavor. A small amount of liquid should still be in the
bottom of the pan. When the cabbage rolls are done, let them stand in
pot about 10 minutes. Holding the saucer in place, drain and reserve the
liquid. (A helper is a good idea if you can find someone.) Remove the
saucer and loose leaves. Place a large platter over the pan. Hold it in
place and invert the pan onto the platter. The result will be a molded
form of the cabbage layers. Remove the leaves used for lining and serve
with reserved juice.
Note: The filling also may be used to stuff yellow summer squash and
grape leaves. If using grape leaves, cook in water and do not use tomato
Also called Yabrah malfoof
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