Eastside Road, February 24, 2011—OR, STUFFED CABBAGE. We bought a beautiful little Savoy cabbage the other day, not much bigger than my two fists, held thumbs together. I took it apart — it's not hard to do that, holding it under the hot-water tap. I blanched the leaves in hot water, setting the core and outer leaves aside to chop up fairly fine.
I chopped up about a half pound of boiled ham and browned it in pork fat, then set it aside and browned half a big onion and a couple of small carrots, diced small.
The browned mixtures, the chopped cabbage, and some parsley and thyme all got chopped together, not forgetting a little salt. Then they were mixed with a raw egg and maybe half a cup of breadcrumbs that had been soaked in a little milk.
I lined a mixing bowl a little bigger than the cabbage — too much bigger, as it turned out — with the biggest cabbage leaves. I covered these with some of the mixture, then added another layer of the next cabbage leaves, continuing, alternating, ending with the smallest cabbage leaves. When finished assembling the cabbage, I poured in the water the leaves had blanched in.
I set the mixing bowl, covered, in a larger pot with water in it, and set the two in the oven — about 300°, for maybe half an hour. Then I poured off the juices into a pitcher and turned the cabbage out onto a warmed plate. Wedges of the cabbage were served with the juices poured over.
This is based on a nice recipe for stuffed cabbage in the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking; I've used it often enough to take considerable license with it. Nice.
Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Domaine Didier Dagueneau, 2008; another very nice bottle; thanks, Michael!