Jacques' Stuffed Cabbage

Recipe by threeovens
READY IN: 4hrs




  • Remove the 12 outermost leaves from the cabbage; blanch for a few minutes in boiling, salted water to soften.
  • Rinse blanched leaves in cold water, then drain, and let dry; cut out a v-shaped "notch" to remove some of the tough rib of each leaf, set aside.
  • Core remainder of cabbage and chop inner leaves into 1 inch pieces so that you have about 2 cups; wash and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat; add onion and celery and saute, while tossing and stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cabbage, cook another minute or so while tossing and stirring.
  • Season with salt, pepper, caraway, and coriander, if using.
  • Pour in stock, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates and vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes (if too much liquid remains, simply remove cover and continue cooking).
  • Remove vegetables to a mixing bowl and allow to cool; add cooked rice and ground beef, mix well (with hands).
  • Be sure mixture is well seasoned as this is the stuffing (to test, fry a small amount in butter to taste seasonings).
  • To make the sauce, set a casserole, or other oven proof pot, on the stove top and heat over medium high heat; add oil, onion, celery, and carrots.
  • Saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bay leaves; cover and simmer on low while you stuff the cabbage.
  • Okay, now the fun part, stuffing the cabbage (this is a Jacques Pepin exclusive method that Julia Child found utterly charming and much easier than the traditional method): Lay a large square of aluminum foil flat on your work surface.
  • Place the four largest cabbage leaves on the foil; they should overlap and form a circle with the "notch" on the outside of the circle.
  • Spread 1/3 of the stuffing on top, leaving about a 2 or 3 inch margin all around.
  • Repeat using the next largest leaves and another 1/3 of the stuffing; then layer with the smallest leaves and remainder of the stuffing.
  • Now you are going to use the foil to reshape the cabbage into it's original ball shape, no, seriously.
  • Lift the corners and outside edges of the foil, and bring toward the center, so that the bottom layers of cabbage come up and sort of cover the smaller leaf layers.
  • Keep pressing and forming into a ball, you will have a small opening at the top of the foil.
  • Pour wine and stock into the casserole with the sauce; invert the cabbage ball and place into the sauce with the opening DOWN.
  • Bring to a boil, over high heat, cover and place in center of preheated oven.
  • Cook 2 hours.
  • Once done, remove cabbage to a serving platter; this can be accomplished, heh heh heh, with one of those wire pasta thingys, or a heavy spatula (the opening should still be down).
  • Pierce the foil and gently remove, from around and under, without disturbing the shape of the cabbage.
  • Cut into wedges to serve; spoon sauce over or serve on side.