Stuffed whole Cabbage

Chou Farci à la Grassoise: “Sou-Fassum”

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

Traditionally, this stuffed cabbage is one of the elements of the pot-au-feu native to Grasse, a Gargantuesque Sunday repast that is further distinguished by counting mutton among its meats. The integral preparation requires a 20- or 25-quart receptacle, but the stuffed cabbage alone provides a more than honorable supper and may be cooked in a large saucepan or marmite of a size to easily hold it submerged in liquid. Lacking stock or leftover bouillon, it may be cooked in salted water to which a couple of carrots, an onion stuck with cloves, and a bouquet garni have been added. In season, a handful of freshly shelled peas are a welcome addition to the stuffing.

The Grassois nourish a proud affection for the thing that, to me, seems justified, although a group of friends, all originally from the southwest of France, once surprised me by unanimously pronouncing it insipid and flabby. The cook had, admittedly, been overcautious with seasoning, but their common yardstick for judgment was the golden, firm, egg-yolk-bound farci of the next recipe—quite another thing, which, to my mind, may be as good but is certainly no better than the sou-fassum.

A net-like arrangement called a fassumier was, in the past, manufactured in Grasse. A string bag, the top of which has been cut off, permitting it to be opened out flat, is its most practical replacement. Lacking that, cheesecloth may be used.