Chou Farci à Mme Chalendar

Mme Chalendar’s Stuffed Cabbage

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    3–4

    as a main course.

Appears in

While buying stoneware pots in Mme Chalendar’s shop in Lamastre I mentioned that I was particularly interested in Ardéchois cooking. The effect was electric: in a flash Madame raced across the shop to call up the stairs to her daughter, Lily. A dark, pretty sixteen-year-old emerged, keen to tell me that she was starting to learn how to cook. In no time I was hustled into the kitchen behind the shop to sample Lily’s latest dish, her chou farci, which tasted so good and was so simple to make that Madame insisted I was given the recipe. Between customers she dictated the recipe while Lily wrote and Lily’s father, seated at a table in the kitchen interjected now and again ‘Don’t forget the garlic.’

Ingredients

  • about 750 g (a generous lb) white drumhead cabbage
  • 450 g(1 lb) minced beef or veal
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon quatre-épices
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 150 ml(¼ pt) beef stock
  • salt
  • 45 g( oz) butter

Method

Remove the stem and any damaged leaves from the cabbage, and cut into roughly 1 cm(½ in) squares. Blanch in salted, boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water, and drain well.

Brown the minced meat and garlic in a pan without fat, stirring from time to time. Stir in the quatre-épices, parsley, vinegar, stock and salt. Bring to the boil and stir well to incorporate the pan juices.

Rub some of the butter inside an ovenproof dish. Either mix the meat with the cabbage or make three layers of cabbage separated by the meat mixture. Dot the top of the cabbage with the remainder of the butter. Cover the dish with a buttered paper and a lid.

Cook in the centre of a moderate oven (Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F) for 30 minutes.

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