I have to say right off the bat that this post was solely inspired by a photo I saw in the beautiful new cookbook by Mimi Thorisson, A Kitchen In France. In fact she posted the recipe recently on her blog, the name she calls it is, Chou Farci.
Instead of individual rolls of stuffed cabbage like most of us are use to seeing, her recipe was made and molded into a cake-like form by building layers of meat and vegetable filling and then wrapping it all into a beautiful little package of lacy savoy cabbage leaves.
After reading her recipe, which I’m sure is quite delicious, I thought it would be fun to make my Italian style version, just the way I make my own stuffed cabbage.
You’ll need a round, deep souffle or casserole dish because you’re going to layer the bottom and sides with the cabbage leaves as well as each layer of filling and the top. After it’s baked together you let it rest a bit, then invert it onto a serving plate.
This way of presenting stuffed cabbage takes a simple meal and elevates it to something very special. You can try Mimi’s version, or use a filling that your own family would like, the sky’s the limit! Just follow the directions for the cabbage layout and you’re good to go.
Here’s my Italian style version.
- 1 head of savoy cabbage, it has pretty lacy leaves
- 1½ pound of good quality ground beef or turkey
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
- ½ cup of marinara sauce plus extra for topping mold and plating
- 1 cup of cooked rice
- 1 egg
- olive oil
- fresh chopped basil and parsley, a small bunch of each
- salt and pepper
- Core and separate the leaves from the savoy cabbage, then cook them in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, pat dry and set aside.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a deep souffle type dish and then arrange the prettiest and largest leaf on the bottom. Place another leaf on top of that and up the sides of the dish all around.
- In a large saute pan cook your meat until you see no pink, if it needs to be drained of added grease do so and set aside.
- Add olive oil to the pan and cook the onions, carrots, garlic and diced red pepper until soft, then toss it all together with the cooked meat.
- Add the grated cheese, marinara and fresh herbs, toss til well coated, let it cool then toss in the egg.
- Put your first layer down, about ½ inch then layer a cabbage leaf on top. Repeat until you reach the top or run out of filling.
- Finish with cabbage on top making sure to tuck it in the dish all around.
- Drizzle the top with olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of romano cheese all over.
- Bake at 350 for around 40 minutes.
- Let it rest then invert a serving plate over the souffle dish, then flip it over.
- Cut into slices and serve with additional warmed marinara and more grated cheese.