I'm not sure how traditional this might be, but there are so many different versions of sarma (i.e. stuffed cabbage) that someone must do it this way. Trust me, it is amazing and worth the extra tedious steps I've added, just to make it more difficult. Start with a big head of cabbage. I had an oddly flat one with huge leaves. Cut out the core and boil it in salty water for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool and drain. Then take two should lamb chops and chop them up finely by hand. You don't want meat grinder texture, but a fine cut, with fat and all. Add salt, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, zaatar, a little sugar and mix up. Lay a large thigh shaped piece of lamb filling in each cabbage leaf, tuck in the sides and roll up. Put them in a clay casserole. Now the fun part. Add a little olive oil and wine, sprinkle with more zaatar, cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for two hours or longer. Then remove tin foil and continue to cook on the stove top so all the liquid is reduced. Keep spooning it over. I also added about a tablespoon of harissa to the liquid and kept spooning. Notice no rice or tomato. The filling becomes wonderfully tender. Serve with polenta. I'll bet they're even better today.
Food Historian at the University of the Pacific. Director of Food Studies in San Francisco.
Author of Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, Beans (2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award) and Pancake. A cookbook with Rosanna Nafziger THE LOST ART OF REAL COOKING.
Coeditor of The Lord's Supper with Trudy Eden and Editor of A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance.
Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia (4 vols.) Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican and Chinese recently won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best Foreign Cuisine book in the World. The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies is in print.
A sequel to the cookbook - entitled THE LOST ARTS OF HEARTH AND HOME.
Latest Books: Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food from Oregon State U Press, a little book on Nuts from Reaktion and The Food History Reader from Bloomsbury. The Most Excellent Book of Cookery (translation of a 16th c. French Cookbook with Tim Tomasik) from Prospect Books. Not to mention THE BEAST: The Food Issues Encyclopedia for Sage. Still in the works.