Stuffed cabbage

Stuffed cabbage

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

I don’t think there is a country in Europe that wouldn’t have some version of stuffed cabbage. A lot of them use the leaves to stuff and serve as small parcels. I like them but I prefer this version where the whole cabbage takes on a noble status to be carved like a Sunday roast.


Quantity Ingredient
1 small savoy cabbage
800g diced pork shoulder
200g chicken livers
700g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
400g pork back fat
2 celery stalks
1 bunch tarragon
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon white pepper
25g salt
2 eggs
2 litres chicken stock


  1. Remove the core of the cabbage with a small, sharp knife. Carefully deconstruct the cabbage, being mindful not to tear the leaves – stop when you get to the pale core.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and season with salt to the tune of 40 g salt per litre water.
  3. Fill another saucepan of the same size with iced water.
  4. Blanch the cabbage leaves in the boiling water, a few at a time, then immediately refresh them in the iced water. Drain the leaves on paper towel and leave to dry.
  5. Put all of the meats and the celery through a coarse mincer.
  6. Chop the tarragon and add it to the meat along with the spices, salt and eggs. Mix well with your hands.
  7. Starting with the inner cabbage leaves, smear some of the stuffing on the inside of each leaf and rebuild the cabbage. Try to keep the leaves in their natural order for the best result.
  8. Place the cabbage on a large square of muslin. Bring the sides up and tie them at the top with butcher’s string to form a tight, round parcel. Place in a large saucepan and cover with the chicken stock – top up with a little water if required. Bring to a low simmer and cook gently for 1 hour 45 minutes. The internal temperature should be 75°C when cooked. Remove the cabbage from the pan and untie the muslin. Reserve the cooking liquor.
  9. Serve in a large deep dish and carve at the table. Bowls of the cooking liquor can be served to start the meal.


  • The celery is important, not just for flavour, but because it contains high levels of nitrate, which will help retain the stuffing’s rosy hue.
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