The stuffing in these leaves is the farci of the southwest, about which many a sentimental word has been written but for which one rarely sees recipes—and, in fact, to give a specific recipe is no doubt to falsify the spirit of the thing, for the only rule of its preparation is that it be based on bread panade thickened with egg. It is often only that with aromatic support and, when it contains meat, it can be a chopped mixture of any odds and ends of leftover roasts, boiled meats, or poultry giblets. Often a piece of chopped salt pork is the only meat ingredient. If the stuffing most often garnishes cabbage, either whole as in the preceding recipe, destined to serve as the principal element of the meal, or individual leaves, as in this recipe, sometimes serving as a garnish to soup, sometimes served by itself, the reason is economical—whenever something else is stuffed (veal or mutton breasts for braising, chickens for poule-au-pot, various vegetables . . .), the same farci finds its place there. The stuffed leaves of the following recipe may be braised in stock or bouillon and will be the richer for it.
Discard the dark outer leaves of the cabbage and carefully remove all the others without damaging them. Pare the rib of each, arrange them stacked in a large saucepan, pour over boiling, salted water, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Pour carefully into a colander and leave to cool.
Choose preferably a heavy, low-sided vessel just large enough to contain the stuffed leaves placed side by side—a
Mix all the ingredients of the stuffing into a completely homogeneous mass with your hands and roll heaping tablespoonsful—approximately
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.