Capoun

Cabbage Stuffed with Ham, Rice, Vegetables, and Herbs and Simmered in White Wine

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    6

    to 8 people

Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

This is a hearty cold-weather dish and a good way to use leftover ham, beef, rice, or vegetables. The stuffed cabbage is baked slowly on a bed of vegetables in a wine and herb broth. When served, the cabbage is sliced like a melon and looks most appetizing, with the green leaves surrounding the colorful stuffing. This is a meal in itself.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 onions, finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • cups finely minced parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup cooked peas (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup diced lean salt pork
  • cups chopped cooked ham, boiled beef, or pork
  • 1 or 2 thick slices of country ham, Virginia ham, or prosciutto, diced
  • ½ teaspoon Spanish saffron
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup water or beef broth
  • bouquet garni

Method

Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage. Wash and shred them. Wash and cook the head of cabbage for 10 minutes in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain in a colander, and when cool enough, gently peel off the leaves and spread each one on a paper towel. Sprinkle with cumin, salt, and pepper.

Sauté the onions in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil for 5 minutes and put them into a large bowl. Add to the bowl the crushed garlic, parsley, eggs, rice, peas, all the meats, and shredded cabbage leaves. Add the saffron, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands. Taste to see if it is well seasoned.

Take a large piece of cheesecloth and place four or five of the biggest leaves in a circle in the center of the cloth. Place all the stuffing in the center of the leaves, and cover with the rest of the leaves. Pull up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie tightly with a piece of string so that you have a firm, melon-shaped ball.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Sauté the carrots, onions, and the whole peeled garlic clove in a deep roasting pan for 5 minutes.

Add the wine, the water or broth, and the bouquet garni, and place the stuffed cabbage on top of the vegetables. Cover with aluminum foil and cover the pan. Bake for 3 to 4 hours, checking now and then to see that there is enough liquid. When a knife slides through the cabbage ball easily it is done. Remove the bouquet garni. Skim off the fat and remove the string and the cloth from the cabbage.

Place the cabbage ball on a warm shallow serving dish. Slice it in large wedges as you would a melon. Pour a little of the cooking juices over each slice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.