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
Remove the stem and any damaged leaves from the cabbage, and cut into roughly
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.
© 1987 Geraldene Holt. All rights reserved.