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What's Cooking?

Tonight's dinner, sorted

Published on November 28th 2011.


What's Cooking?

CHEF Pascal Aussignac is Chef Patron of Club Gascon, which has boasted one Michelin star since 2002. Aussignac is originally from Toulouse, France, but has been cooking for London since 1998, much to foodies and critics delight. His recipe for Chou Farci is his take on a French stuffed cabbage using leftovers from a pot-au-feu. He stuffs the meat into a whole cabbage, which is then simmered gently in the liquor. Although, you could use any cooked beef and beef stock.

 

CHOU FARCI

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time:
3 hours
Serves:
4 – 6

Ingredients:
1 medium green cabbage, ideally Savoy
200g cooked beef, finely chopped
400g pork sausage meat
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 free-range eggs, beaten
Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large piece of caul fat (optional – see cook’s notes)
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
100g fat bacon, chopped
1 litre beef stock or cooking liquor from a pot-au-feu
1 bouquet garni (fresh parsley, thyme, bay and celery)

 

Method:
1. Choose a pan to hold the cabbage snugly, allowing room for the stock etc. Place the cabbage base-side down, pour over boiling water to cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain off the water and cool cabbage upside in a colander.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the chopped beef, sausage meat, garlic and egg using a fork, and season (sausage meat is already seasoned). 

3. Pull the centre of the cabbage apart and cut out the heart. Chop this and mix back into the stuffing. Using a spoon, separate out the outer leaves, pushing stuffing into the gaps, and filling the hollowed centre. Press the cabbage together to reshape. Wrap in caul fat if you have it (see Cook’s Notes). 

4. Place back in the saucepan and scatter around the carrot, onion and bacon. Pour over the stock and add the bouquet garni. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer. Partially cover and cook for about 3 hours or until all the liquid has evaporated. 

5. Remove and serve cut in quarters or wedges. 

 

PascalaussignacaCook’s Notes: Caul fat is the large spider’s web of fat wrapped around animal intestines. Sold wet, it should be soaked in cold water before use, do not let it dry out. Drain carefully, and unfold. If it breaks it can easily be folded back on itself. The fat helps keep a neat shape during cooking, adds flavour and an appetising sheen to the outside. In the absence of caul fat ensure you cook the cabbage in a well-fitting saucepan.

 

Bordeaux Wine Suggestion: Pascal would suggest a full bodied Bordeaux from the St Julien region in Bordeaux, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Merlot to give complexity.  However, if your taste is for something smooth and mellow, a more Merlot dominated wine from the Cotes-de-Francs, would also complement this dish.


Recipe taken from Cuisinier Gascon (Absolute Press), £25

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