I’ve really been leaning into cozy comfort meals lately– and these cabbage rolls are no exception! Inspired by the flavors of North Africa, these babies are stuffed with beef and lamb and seasoned with lots of harissa, sumac, ras el hanout, and paprika. Serve with lots of yogurt and fresh herbs for a perfect chilly evening treat.
For the sauce:
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 42.5 oz canned crushed tomatoes (one large and one small can)
- 3 tbsp harissa paste, or more to taste
- 3 tsp ras el hanout
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses (or 2 tbsp red wine vinegar and 2 tbsp brown sugar)
- ¼ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the filling and assembly
- 2 heads savoy cabbage (you may not need it all, but better to have extra than not enough)
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1.5 cups cooked white rice
- 3 tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs – mint, parsley, cilantro
- 2 tbsp sumac
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp diamond kosher salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- Oil for pan frying
- Yogurt and herbs for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it’s boiling, add the cabbage heads and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the leaves are tender. Remove from the water and set aside to cool. You can start cooking the sauce while the cabbage simmers.
- In another wide bottomed dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, harissa, ras el hanout, water, and pomegranate molasses and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- While the sauce simmers, combine all the ingredients for the filling (minus the oil) and mix thoroughly.
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Once the cabbage has cooled, remove the large outer leaves (they have probably gotten pretty destroyed during the cooking process).
- Use a knife to trim off just the stem of the cabbage, so it becomes easy to peel the leaves out.
- Reserve 12-14 medium sized, intact, cabbage leaves. The leaves towards the center of the cabbage will eventually get too small and can’t be used. Optionally, you can chop up the rest of the unused cabbage and throw it in the sauce.
- To fill each cabbage, place a large spoonful in the middle of the leaf, pinch in the sides, and roll away from yourself. Continue until all your leaves are filled.
- If your dutch oven (what’s holding the sauce) is big enough to fit the rolls, remove all but a layer to coat the bottom of the pan. Reserve the rest of the sauce. If your dutch oven is not big enough, pour a layer of sauce along the bottom of a walled baking tray.
- Heat a pan with some oil over medium heat. Fry each roll for a minute or so on each side. This helps seal in the rolls as well add some caramelized flavor. Place completed rolls on top of the thin layer of sauce. It’s OK if you need to double layer.
- Top the rolls with the rest of the sauce and cover with the lid or tin foil.
- Bake for 1.5 hours at 375 degrees.
- Serve with extra herbs and full fat yogurt.