Stuffed Cabbage Leaves (Zeytinyagli Lahana Dolmasi)

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  • 1 white or green cabbage, washed
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 quantity stuffing, without mint
  • pinch of paprika or crushed dried red chile
  • juice of 1 lemon


1 Cut out the stalk of the cabbage with a sharp knife to give a cone shape, sprinkle with salt and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes in salted water. Once cooled, separate the leaves without tearing. Remove the tough central veins and cut the leaves into hand-size pieces.
2 Line the base of a saucepan with the thick pieces. Place one leaf on a plate, vein side upward, and place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center, toward with wider end. Fold the sides over the filling and roll the leaf into a cigar shape. Repeat until all the filling is used up; you will have some leaves left over.
3 Arrange the dolmas tightly in the saucepan and cover with a couple of leftover leaves, to prevent leaves coming undone during cooking. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then add the lemon juice, seasoning, and paprika or crushed chile. Simmer for at least 40 minutes, until tender, adding hot water as it becomes absorbed. Cool in the saucepan before serving.

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