Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stuffed Whole Baby Savoy Cabbages

Savoy cabbage is milder tasting than its green or red counterparts and baby ones are milder still, compared to their grownups. If you are serving folks who aren’t crazy about cabbage, but do like greens, give Savoy cabbage a try. The baby ones are also adorable. 

Our elder daughter is dating a delightful young man that is not only a talented type designer but, bonus, he cooks and bakes beautifully. Every weekday he creates lunch for his office mates as part of his contribution to the team. It’s a brilliant arrangement, by which, as I understand it, he gets a discount on his share of the office rent and everyone gets a healthy, freshly prepared, delicious meal every day. So smart, these young people! I’ve been wanting to try one of his specialties (from an original recipe by Jacques Pépin) a whole stuffed cabbage that is cooked then cut into wedges for serving. But when I came across baby Savoy cabbages in my local grocery store and I couldn’t resist them. Some day I'll make the big guy.

The week’s Sunday Supper theme is Stuffed, Rolled and Wrapped so the individual stuffed cabbages are perfect! They may seem a little fiddly to make but I assure you that the baby Savoys are fairly hearty little cabbages and you can stuff your filling in with confidence. The stuffing and the simple tomato sauce they cook in is what my mother made whenever she made cabbage rolls as I was growing up.

4 small Savoy cabbages – about 2+ oz or 55-60g each

For the filling:
12 oz or 340g ground beef
4 oz or 115g ground pork
1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 oz or 70g
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup or 45g raw rice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 can ( oz or 400g) whole tomatoes – buy the best quality you can afford. I like the Italian ones for best flavor.
2 cloves garlic
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme plus extra for garnish, if desired

Mince your onion very finely and then mix it together thoroughly with the rest of the filling ingredients.

Divide your filling into reasonably equal portions.

Gently open your little cabbages and start filling from the middle, closing up the leaves over the filling until you have used all the filling allotted to that baby cabbage. Repeat until all four are filled.

Separate all the leaves and start stuffing in the middle.

When the area is full, close the leaves around the filling.

Keep adding stuffing and closing the leaves.

When you get to the outer leaves, put some stuffing on them and squeeze them up against the inside.

Finally, put the last of the stuffing right in the top and close up.

So cute, right?! 

Cut four pieces of foil and wrap them around the cabbages so that they hold their shape, leaving a hole at the top of the foil.

Puree your canned tomatoes with a hand or regular blender, along with the garlic, salt and sugar. Use the tomato can as a measuring device and add a full can of water to the mixture and stir to combine.

Put the four stuffed cabbages in a pan that has a tight fitting lid, hole side down and pour the tomato garlic sauce in the pan with the foil-wrapped cabbages.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then put your lid on the pan and simmer for about an hour or until the internal temperature of the stuffed cabbages reaches 160°F or 71°C.  (While the “safely cooked” temperatures have been reduced for cuts of pork, they haven’t changed for ground meats.)

Meanwhile, pull the leaves off of your fresh thyme sprigs and mince them.

When the cabbages are cooked, remove them from the pan, unwrap your little foil bundles and arrange them on your serving dish.

Add the minced thyme to the sauce and check seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, if necessary. Cook the sauce down until it thickens slightly.

Pour the sauce on and around your stuffed baby cabbages. Garnish with some extra thyme, if desired.


How they look on the inside.

Do you like your food stuffed, wrapped and rolled? Check out the 54 links below to everything from appetizers to desserts!

Starters and Snacks
Entrees and Mains
All Things Sweet


  1. Are there people who aren't crazy about cabbage??? :) Looks delicious and I just realized I've never bought savoy cabbage. It's so pretty.

  2. Apparently, shockingly, there are! I love Savoy, even the big ones because they are a much prettier green than their pale cousins.

  3. This is brilliant. I made stuffed cabbage once, many moons ago, and had no idea what I was doing. Your step-by-step pictures are fabulous.

    BTW, VERY clever boyfriend. :-)

  4. I have never made stuffed cabbage! I need to change that! Your recipe is just incredible!

  5. I found the most beautiful cabbage yesterday at the Farmers Market... now, I know exactly what to do with it.

  6. Love cabbage rolls, but this is a great reinterpretation. Need to try this soon!

  7. I I ever find baby savoy cabbage I am buying them STAT. thanks for sharing this recipe.

  8. I am craving this now! I love stuffed cabbages and your recipe is making my tummy grumble! Mmmmmm...

  9. I LOVE these!! I grew up eating cabbage rolls made by my grandmother - but this method you have is ADORABLE

  10. I love the little cabbages, I never thought to make a stuffed cabbage this way!

  11. I've never seen baby savoys at my market, but I will be on the search for them now! These are adorable and sound so delicious!

  12. WOW! These are gorgeous, Stacy! I love the veiny savoy cabbage leaves...they make such a beautiful presentation.

  13. The cabbage looks so cool in your picture, I love this recipe!!!

  14. Holey Guacamoley, Stacy these just look absolutely amazing! What time is dinner?

  15. Once I saw them, it was all I could think of, Deanna! Of course, I already had stuffed cabbage on the brain.

  16. I grew up eating cabbage rolls, Amy, and always loved them too.

    I know, right?! You can buy two of his typefaces through that link. Just name your price!

  17. He is very clever, Betsy, and is also a nice guy.

    I hope you give stuffed cabbage another chance!

  18. There you go, Isabel. I hope you like it as much as I do.

  19. Thank you, Jennifer! You do need to change that!

  20. I had never seen them either! But aren't they precious?

  21. As someone who loves cabbage and pork and beef and tomato sauce, this is just about a perfect dish for me. Wow. You even used my favorite herb too.

  22. Savoy cabbage in any size is spectacular! And with your Jacques Pépin inspired recipe even more spectacular! P.s. You must be happy that your daughter has found a gentleman and a gourmet!

  23. This looks absolutely divine Stacy! I've never thought to stuff cabbages... actually, I've never seen a baby savoy cabbage. I'll have to do a bit of hunting. P.S rather amazed that your daughter's partner is the office cook! That is really cool! Very impressed! x

  24. WOW, Stacy!!! I always love to see what you make for our weekly themes, and this week is no exception. I've got to find baby savoy cabbages. What a fantastic recipe, and I love the step-by-step instructions !

  25. Amazing! I've never seen baby savoy cabbages which is stupid when you think about it cos there are baby versions of just about everything else on the shelves. Great recipe!

  26. Oh wow. What an interesting recipe. Love how they're personalized in size. Perfect for entertaining!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

  27. How cute! I would have never thought to do mini ones. I have got to give these a try!

  28. I made stuffed cabbage but never have I thought of doing it in such an amazing presentation like this.

  29. I love cabbage, but I have never ever seen it prepared like this. It looks beautiful! I will definitely keep this in mind, I'd love to create a vegetarian version!

  30. ADORABLE! I wish I could find them here

  31. Stacy, wow! I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before! These look incredible - I'd seriously be impressed if someone served this to me (oh how I wish someone would serve this to me!) and everything you stuffed in there is absolutely delicious. You hit it out of the park, lady!


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