Dolma, lahanayov (Stuffed cabbage)
DOLMA, Lahanayov (Stuffed cabbage) Serves 6
1 medium sized head of cabbage
1 lb coarsely ground American lamb (shoulder preferred)
1 cup rice
1 6-oz can tomato paste
¼ cup lemon juice
3 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp allspice
¼ tsp ground Aleppo red pepper
1. Remove core from cabbage head. Boil cabbage in hot water until soft, (approximately 10 minutes), then drain and remove outer leaves. Reserve the inner leaves for lining the pot.
2. Combine lamb, rice, salt, pepper, allspice, and red pepper in a large bowl, and mix together.
3. Dilute ½ can of tomato paste in 1 cup water, and add to mixture.
4. Take one leaf of the cabbage at a time and place it flat on a working surface with the center rib facing up. Using a paring knife, scrape the center rib to reduce its bulkiness.
5. Turn the leaf over and place a heaping tablespoon of the mixture on one edge of the leaf, and roll it up into a cigar shape.
6. Place the dolmas in rows in a large enough pot to accommodate all.
7. Dilute remaining tomato paste in 2 cups of water, and add lemon juice.
8. Pour solution over the dolmas, and, if necessary, add water to cover.
9. Place an inverted dish on top of dolmas, and a small pot of water on top of the dish to keep the dolmas compact.
10. Heat over a low flame for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours
Note: Dolma is best served with crusty bread dipped in the jinj (gravy).
Alternatively, it may be garnished with cold plain madzoun, or madzoun with crushed garlic.