Laura Calder is on my favorite chef list. I watch her show on the Cooking Channel, but unfortunately her shows are from 2009 and 2008. I wonder what she is up to these days. I find her to be very talented, funny and creative.
I am adapting her recipe, but the instructions are hers.
1 large Savoy cabbage (about 1.5 pounds/165 g total)
3 slices of white bread
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onions, chopped
2 shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 pound mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
a few handfuls fresh thyme, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon of spanish paprika
Salt to taste
6 Italian sweet sausages and 2 hot sausages, removed from casing and lightly cooked. It will fully cook after steaming.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt it generously.
Core the cabbage. Gently peel away the leaves
to expose the heart (by heart, I mean the ball of more yellowish leaves at the centre which are too tightly packed to bother prying apart). Cut out that core of inner-most leaves and shred to add to the stuffing. Cut the thick ribs out of the remaining leaves (they will look like you’ve stolen a sliver from a pie). Set aside.
Blanch the cabbage leaves for five to seven minutes. Drain, and refresh under ice-cold water. Drain and pat dry with a towel.
Break the bread into crumbs in a bowl, pour over the milk and set aside to soften. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet and gently fry the onion and shallot until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, chopped cabbage, and thyme. Cook another five minutes. Add the bread and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir through the paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the sausage meat in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork. Taste it to check the seasonings. Adjust as needed.
Lay a tea towel on the counter with a piece of cheesecloth or muslin large enough to wrap the cabbage in on top. You’re going to reconstruct the cabbage, only with layers of stuffing between the leaves. So, first lay down the large outer leaves, slightly overlapping, and with the prettiest side out. Spread over a layer of stuffing. Lay over another layer of leaves and repeat the action. Continue until you have run out of leaves.
Pull up the edges of the cheesecloth, like a bag, and twist, as if making the head of a puppet, to shape the cabbage into a round loaf shape. Tie a string around the beard of cloth where it meets the cabbage ball, to secure the package. The cabbage can be prepared to this stage in advance, refrigerated and cooked before serving.
To cook: Use a steamer or invert a small colander in a large pot
and steam the cabbage in good chicken stock (about 2 cups/500 ml of it) for about 45 minutes. Flavour from the cabbage will drip into the water and give it the most amazing flavour. When the cabbage is done, boil down the cooking juices and serve a spoonful around each wedge of cabbage in a soup bowl.