Cabbage

Cabbage

Lebanese cuisine has some dishes that require great stuffing abilities, style and… patience! One of them is the “Mehché Malfouf”, Stuffed Cabbage… the Cabbage leaves are filled with ground beef and rice, my mom used to put some roasted chicken wings in the bottom of the saucepan, before “building” the dish, adding some garlic cloves between the rolls of stuffed cabbage… the recipe requires some lemon juice and dried mint at the end of the cooking process… In my opinion, the chicken gives this dish another dimension of flavors… It’s delicious, but,… really,…  getting the cabbage leaves ready for stuffing and assembly was pure torture… 

I tried to make this dish a few times, using the round cabbage variety,… it’s seriously difficult! You have to remove the leaves without breaking them (almost impossible to do),… you can boil the cabbage to soften the leaves or even use the microwave to try to release the leaves so you can use, stuff, roll, pile, cook and eat them! Easier said than done… ridiculously time consuming, with burnt fingers and the only guaranteed success being the bad mood of the cook! ha!! :) 

A few days ago, I found a smaller version of the same variety of cabbage we use in Lebanon; Flat Cabbage… here, at Whole Foods in Miami! YAY!! I was determined to make a final trial of Stuffed Cabbage and to succeed!!! I had to make it work! The expectations were to delicious to allow myself fail again!

I had one last trick to try for loosening up the strong cabbage leaves… the freezer! I rinsed the cabbage, removed a couple of broken outer leaves, sealed the whole cabbage in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for two days… I let the cabbage thaw at room temperature for a few hours… and YOUPI! The thawed cabbage leaves were super easy to remove,… soft and cold… not even one broken leaf! I just had to remove the central rib and start enjoying the making of my dear Mehché Malfouf…