Stuffed Cabbage

TOTAL TIME: 30 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: --
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium or 2 small savoy cabbages (about 1.5 pounds/165 g total)
  • 3 ounces/90 g bread
  • About 1/4 cup/60 ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 pound/125 g mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • A few handfuls fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon quatre-epices, more to taste, or smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1 pound/500 g pork sausage meat
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Directions

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt it generously.

Core the cabbage. Gently peel away the leaves to expose the heart (by heart, I mean the ball of more yellowish leaves at the center which are too tightly packed to bother prying apart). Cut out that core of inner-most leaves and shred to add to the stuffing. Cut the thick ribs out of the remaining leaves (they will look like you've stolen a sliver from a pie). Set aside.

Blanch the cabbage leaves for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, and refresh under ice-cold water. Drain and pat dry with a towel.

Break the bread into crumbs in a bowl, pour over the milk and set aside to soften. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet and gently fry the onion and shallot until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage, mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the bread and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir through the quatre-epices and season generously with salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the sausage meat in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork. Make a small ball and fry it in the frying pan. Taste it to check the seasonings. Adjust as needed.

Lay a tea towel on the counter with a piece of cheesecloth or muslin large enough to wrap the cabbage in. You're going to reconstruct the cabbage, but with layers of stuffing between the leaves. So, first lay down the large outer leaves, in a circle, slightly overlapping with the prettiest side out. Spread over a layer of stuffing. Lay over another layer of leaves and repeat the action. Continue until you have run out of leaves. Pull up the edges of the cheesecloth, like a bag, and twist, as if making the head of a puppet, to shape the cabbage into a round loaf shape. Tie a string around the beard of cheesecloth where it meets the cabbage ball, to secure the package. The cabbage can be prepared to this stage in advance, refrigerated and then cooked before serving.

To cook: Steam the cabbage over water or good chicken stock (about 2 cups/500 ml of it) for 45 minutes. The flavor from the stuffed cabbage will drip into the water or stock and give it the most amazing flavor. When the cabbage is done, boil down the cooking juices and serve a spoonful around each wedge of cabbage in a soup bowl.

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  • on February 23, 2014

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    This is an excellent recipe. I am allergic to tomatoes, but I love stuffed cabbage. Most recipes for stuffed cabbage have a tomatoes sauce. This is a great alternative for me. It took me a bit longer for all of the prep. Two onions seems like a lot when you are cutting them, but it works out properly. I was quite impressed that mine looked just like Laura's when done. This is definitely going into the repeat file.

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  • on December 03, 2013

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    After making this dish, it's now my favorite recipe for stuffed cabbage. The recipe is quite flexible with ingredients used to make your own version of 'stuffed cabbage'.

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  • on August 22, 2013

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    I saw this show and was excited at the possibility of making this dish. I finally had an opportunity when the in laws were visiting from out of town. I re visited this episode a few more times to ready myself, and off I went. I did forget to add the fresh thyme but the flavor was excellent anyway. I will add it next time. I used my own home made chicken stock for this which developed further during the steaming. I also made the quatre epices as it isnt readily available in my markets, it was a nicely balanced and aromatic spice blend. The end result is a beautifully composed and flavorful dish with a real wow impact when presented and sliced at the table. This one will go into my special meal rotation for sure.

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