This recipe for Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole is a shortcut version of favorite family recipe.
Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Casserole
One of the dishes my Lebanese grand-mother would sometimes make was called Malfouf. It’s a stuffed cabbage dish with lots of garlic and lemon juice instead of the popular Eastern European tomato sauce based recipe.
Growing up in Pittsburgh I’ve had my share of delicious homemade stuff cabbage at many celebrations such as high school graduations, weddings and other family parties. Next to pierogies they are a mainstay of many generations of recipes from great cooks.
The Lebanese stuffed cabbage is stuffed with meat and rice. Some use lamb instead of beef. The difference other than the sauce is that they are very thin, cigar shaped rolls.
Needless to say, both types of stuffed cabbage are a lot of work. So when I noticed people were make casseroles with the flavors of the red stuffed cabbage I decided to try making the deconstructed Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole.
It all started with this beautiful head of Savoy cabbage from the CSA basket.
I made it in a skillet and pre-cooked the rice. It didn’t take long.
Using a whole head of garlic seems like a lot but it wasn’t over-powering. Perhaps that’s due to the amount of fresh lemon juice.
Overall it ended up being a good dish with the familiar flavors I remember from grandma’s Malfouf. However, I think when I make it next time I will cook it in a large dutch oven and allow it to braise for a longer time.
I’m not sure if grandma would approve of this shortcut, but it certainly brings back fond memories of dinner at her house.
Here’s the recipe
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 1 large head cabbage, chopped
- 1 head garlic, crushed
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste
- Brown the ground beef or lamb in a large skillet or heavy pot.
- Add the cabbage, some of the lemon juice, and some of the garlic. Be careful to burn the garlic.
- Season with salt and pepper
- As the cabbage starts to wilt, add the rice and about 1 cup of water.
- Continue adding lemon juice and garlic.
- Let casserole simmer for 20 minutes or until the cabbage is soft and wilted.
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