Forced (Stuffed) Cabbage

This recipe, quoted by Florence White, came originally from Mrs Martha Bradley who lived in Bath and recorded it in 1749. She says, “This is a very cheap and elegant dish, and the young cabbages that are now, in June, just coming into season are the fittest of all for it.” Serve with plain boiled rice.


  • 2 green cabbages, with plenty of heart
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • ½ lb (240 g) raw minced veal, lamb or chicken
  • 4 slices streaky bacon, very finely chopped
  • cup (60 g) fresh fine white breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup (30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • cups (6 dl) strong and well-seasoned stock (stock cubes will do)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut out the hearts of both cabbages, keeping the outer leaves attached to the stalk. Plunge the outer leaves into boiling, salted water and scald for 4 minutes. Lift out and leave to drain on a rack.

Chop the hearts of the cabbages very finely and put into cups (3 dl) of boiling salted water. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain and mix with all the other ingredients except the stock. Divide this forcemeat in half, shape it into two balls and fit them inside the scalded cabbages. Fold the leaves well over the stuffing and tie up the cabbages tightly with string. Lay the cabbages carefully in the stock in a shallow casserole, cover closely with foil and cook in the oven at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 1 hour.

To serve, carefully cut the cabbages through with a very sharp knife so that the forcemeat hearts are exposed. Baste each with some of the stock they cooked in and serve immediately, lifting each half on to a plate and spooning some of the gravy over it.