1 head of cabbage
1 head of celery
3/4 cup short grain brown rice, steamed
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1 packed cup fresh spinach, chopped (one of the savoyed variety)*
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp olive oil + 2 tbsp for mixing the stuffing
4 oz ground grass-fed beef (you can also use bison or lamb)
1/4 tsp allspice berries, ground
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Dash of ground mace
1/2 tsp sea salt – divided in half (between the ground meat and the other ingredients)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Pomegranate molasses to serve
Yogurt to serve (optional)
Tarator (Tahini) Sauce to serve (optional)
* The savoyed varieties of spinach are darker in color, with crinkled leaves and crisper texture. They usually grow in the colder weather months. I think I had the bloomsdale variety which works great in cooking. For more info on the varieties, head this way.
Preparing the cabbage: Bring a pot of water to a boil and hold at simmer. Cut the base of the cabbage off, start peeling the leaves gently, trimming some of the thicker stalk off. Place the leaves in the simmering water for a few minutes until pliable enough to roll. Remove carefully with tongs and set aside.
Preparing the ground beef: Over medium heat, place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet, add beef, 1/4 tsp salt, allspice, cinnamon, mace and pepper if using. Sauté until done, but not overcooked.
Rolling the leaves: Place 1 or 2 tbsp of stuffing on each leaf closer to the base of the leaf (near the stalk). Fold over the stuffing and tightly roll towards the tip of the leaf. Repeat process until all done. Line the bottom of a pot with the celery stalks. Place the cabbage rolls on top, lined side by side in the opposite direction of the celery stalks. If you have a second layer, place them in the opposite direction of the first cabbage layer. This keeps everything intact. Gently pour water over the rolls just until covered, sprinkle some salt to taste, cover pot and let simmer gently until all water is gone, approximately 30-40 minutes. Serve hot or room temp with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.