Stuffed Cabbage with a Morel Cream Sauce #French Fridays with Dorie

When I ask my children to try something before they proclaim that they don’t like it, I usually remind them that “It’s not calves brains.” 

My grandparents came from Italy and I was always reminded that in “the old country” they couldn’t afford to waste any part of the animal. My grandmother would say, 

“With what an American family throws away an Italian family makes dinner.” 

To really make their point about how spoiled us American children were when I visited my grandparents we would regularly have to eat some type of innards. Sometimes it was lamb’s tongue, or Tripe (stomach lining of a cow) or pigs knuckles, but the one innards that I hated the most was calves brains… what can I say they were BRAINS, gray and mealy…truly gross!

Needless to say I never developed a love for any innards, an occasional liver pâté if it is seasoned well I  enjoy, but the rest I have no desire to eat, including foie gras which is tasty, but extremely rich… [and I don’t buy that the goose doesn’t suffer in order to make it.]

So when I was looking over Dorie’s recipe for Cabbage and Foie Gras Bundles I became engrossed with the accompanying page titled “A Taste for Innards.” A course made of cabbage stuffed with thymus gland and covered with a morel cream sauce seemed to have potential for adaptation. I think ground beef, pork or lamb would work well with this recipe, and the morel cream sauce could be poured on a steak or even a piece of chicken too… delicious. 

Stuffed Cabbage with a Morel Cream Sauce
by Diane Balch
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: bake, entree, gluten-free, cabbage, beef, French winter
Ingredients (4 – 6)
  • Sauce:
  • 4 dried morel mushrooms rehydrated in 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 1/2 cup of Madeira wine
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of cream
  • Stuffing:
  • 1 small cabbage with loose leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley chopped
1) Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
2) Put the mushrooms in a Pyrex measuring cup and heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Set aside for about 30 minutes until the mushrooms rehydrate add a pinch of salt into the water.
3) Put the cabbage in a large sauce pot and cover 3/4 of it with salted water. Bring to a boil.
4) As the leaves start to soften use tongs and a knife to cut them off. Have a baking sheet lined with paper towels ready to put the leaves on to dry.
5) As the cabbage is boiling begin sauteing in butter the shallots and garlic in a large skillet. Add the beef when the shallots start to wilt but before the garlic browns. Don’t brown the garlic. Make sure you salt, pepper and pour the Worcestershire sauce over the beef before it cooks. Add the parsley when the beef is cooked through.
6) Put about 2 tablespoons of beef, pack it, at the base of each piece of cabbage. Fold it up and put it in a large baking pan fold sides down. Cover with foil and put in the oven to keep warm.
7) Use the skillet without cleaning it that you sauteed the beef in to make the sauce. First, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet on medium high heat. When it melts add shallots and saute until they wilt.
8) While the shallots are cooking chop up the mushrooms into tiny piece. Add them to the skillet and cook for a minute. Then add the wine and stir until it bubbles.
9) Next add the water from the mushrooms and turn the heat up to high. Stir until the sauce starts to reduce. When it reduces, lower the heat to simmer and whisk in 2 to 4 tablespoons of cream until the sauce thickens a little.
10) Remove stuffed cabbage from oven and pour the sauce over it.
Serve with rice or potatoes. A nice side tomato salad or some glazed carrots works nicely with this dish.