Cabbage

Tembel Dolma

1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 large head of fresh green cabbage (1 pound in all), cored and shredded
3 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into fine half rings
2 tbsp pine nuts
1  1/2 cups long grain rice (we used white jasmine rice)
2 tbsp dried currants
1/2 well-packed cup (1  1/2 ounces) finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp sugar

Bring 2  1/2 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add 1 tbsp salt and stir.  Now put in the cabbage and bring to a boil again.  Boil for 1 minute, or just until the cabbage wilts.  Drain immediately and run under cold water.  Drain again and leave in a strainer.

Put the oil in a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat.  When hot, put in the onion.  Stir and fry about 4 minutes, or until the onion has browned a bit.  Put in the pine nuts.  Stir and fry for 30 seconds.  Turn the heat to medium-low and put in the rice, currants, dill, cinnamon, black pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir and sauté for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.

Divide the cabbage into 3 portions and the rice into 2 portions.  Put one portion of the cabbage in the bottom of a heavy, medium pan, spreading it out evenly.  Cover with a layer of seasoned rice.  Cover the rice with a second layer of cabbage, then another layer of rice and a final layer of cabbage.  Add 3 cups of water and the sugar.  Find a plate that you can fit, upturned, on top of the cabbage.  Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a boil.  Cover tightly, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 30 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Leave the pot undisturbed in a warm place for another 30 minutes or a bit longer.  Just before eating, remove the lid and the plate inside the pan.  Take a knife and go around the edges of the pan.  Now upturn a large serving plate and place it on top of the pan.  Invert the pan so that the plate is now under it.  The rice should just slide out.  Serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

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