1. Take a tomato, an onion, 5 peeled cloves of garlic, and 1/2 bunch of cilantro.
Put them all into a food processor and blend until all chunks disappear.
2. Add the resulting mix to the ground meat. For ground meat, I usually combine ground pork and ground beef for most of my recipes. Then add salt to taste and mix everything up. This is how the whole thing will look as a result.
It is very important to make sure that the rice is quite firm and not mushy when you add it to the filling. Mix everything up, and your filling is ready.
4. Take a big head of cabbage and carefully remove the 8 or 9 of the biggest outer leaves. Try to remove them without tearing them. Don’t be afraid, though. I’m the clumsiest person on the planet, and I managed to do it without spoiling a single leaf. It helps to make a cut at the top of the leaf where you see this really thick part joining the leaf to the cabbage.
5. Boil some water in a pan and plunge the cabbage leaves into the boiling water one by one. The goal is to make the leaves soft enough to be folded but not mushy.
Five to seven seconds in the boiling water are usually enough.
6. After you get the cabbage leaf out of the boiling water and let it cool down some, you will need to cut off the thickest part of the leaf. I draw a very uneven red circle around it in the next picture. I’m insanely proud of my technological sophistication right now.
7. Put some filling into the cabbage leaf and fold it like a little envelope.
8. Then, place all the folded stuffing-filled cabbage leaves into a pan. This is what the whole thing will look like:
9. As I said, now you can either pour your favorite tomato sauce on top and let the whole thing simmer on a very slow fire for about an hour, or you can make the sauce the way I do it. Mix a cup of beet juice (from a can of canned beets), a cup of carrot juice, a small can of tomato paste, and a cup of sour-cream. Pour it on top of the cabbage pockets. Add some diced carrots and beets. Put some fresh herbs (cilantro is what I prefer) into the pan, too. Let everything simmer for 1 hour. And you are done.
10. Don’t tell me this isn’t beautiful: