Very close relative of the Polish gołąbki, this classic, hearty French peasant dish is something of a rarity these days. The cabbage acts as a casing for the pork filling, which you can change according to your taste (using minced chicken and chicken livers, for example) or make completely vegetarian with a filling of, say, chopped wild mushrooms, onions, herbs and breadcrumbs.
- 4 large outer leaves of Savoy cabbage
- 1 litre or enough hot beef or chicken stock to cover the stuffed cabbage (or a couple of good stock cubes dissolved in hot water)
for the sauce
- 100g Puy lentils, soaked for an hour or so in cold water
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 small leek, finely chopped and washed
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- A good knob of butter
- 1/2 tsp tomato purée
- 3 tsp flour
- 50ml red wine
- 500ml beef stock
for the stuffing
- 400g fatty minced pork
- 100g chicken or pork livers, cleaned and minced or finely chopped
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 100ml double cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A good pinch of ground mace
- Put the minced pork into a bowl with the chicken livers, onion, garlic and thyme.
- Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the breadcrumbs.
- Leave to cool then mix with the pork mixture and mace, and season.
- Cook the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of cold water.
- Transfer to some kitchen paper and dry well.
- Remove the thick middle veins with a sharp knife leaving the leaves intact.
- Lay the leaves on a board and spoon the pork mixture evenly between them.
- Fold the leaves into neat balls then wrap a piece of clingfilm round each, gathering the ends up and twisting it into a tight ball.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Drain the lentils and put them into a pan, covered with lightly salted boiling water.
- Simmer for 10 minutes and drain.
- Gently cook the onion, garlic, leek and carrot in the butter for 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add the tomato purée and flour, stir well, then
- Gradually add the red wine and beef stock.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Add the lentils, check seasoning and continue to simmer for 15 minutes before putting to one side.
When all is ready,
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Remove the clingfilm from the cabbage and put them into an ovenproof dish.
- Cover with the hot stock, and cook with the lid on for 45 minutes.
- Reheat the sauce,
- Drain the stock from the cabbage,
- Place the stuffed cabbage on a dish and pour the sauce around.
- If you’re having it as a main course, serve with mash potatoes etc..