Durable is the word that springs to mind when I think of cabbage. They withstand pretty much neglect before their cooked – but definitely no neglect when they are actually cooking.
Our organic savoys are grown biodynamically by Toos at Laines near Cuckfield (round the back of Lewes(. The Sussex Downs soil is definitely suited to growing leaves, as they are glossy, large and dense with a mild, earthy flavour.
So steaming or braising? While they are delicious simply cooked – there are better ways than steaming (although steaming is far preferable to boiling!).
- Blanch first to soften the leaves and pan fry with butter and garlic and pancetta or bacon if you are not vegetarian.
- Our fantastic chef’s recipe from Graham Campbell uses blanched savoy leaves in place of vine leaves – and in this case, as an amazing wrapping for vegetarian haggis (see below). To blanch, he recommends removing the outer leaves and placing 8 inner leaves in boiling water for 4 mins. Then immediately drop into iced water for 5 minutes.
- If you do steam the cabbage, then cut into wedges and drop into your steamer for no more than 10 mins to keep a bit of bite. If finely slicing your cabbage, then cook for 4 minutes
- 300g of tinned borlotti beans, rinsed, roughly chopped
- 30g of butter
- 5 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 80g of shiitake mushroom, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 pinches of nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp allspice powder
- 3 carrots, peeled and grated
- 80g of lentils
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 500ml of vegetable stock
- 50g of porridge oats
- 3 tbsp of rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp of dried sage
- 3 tbsp of thyme, leaves picked
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 savoy cabbage
- 2 pinches of salt
1. Place a medium-sized pan over a low-medium heat and add butter. Add the shallots and garlic and sweat until soft but not coloured
2. Add the mushrooms along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and allspice, continue cooking for 2-3 minutes
3. Add the carrots, lentils and lemon zest. Pour in enough stock to just cover the ingredients. Cover the pan and simmer until the lentils are soft for approximately 12-15 minutes
4. Pulse the oats in a blender to resemble breadcrumbs, then add to the pan to absorb the rest of the stock. Turn down the heat to low and cook the oats through, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes
5. Add the lemon juice, beans, herbs and season with salt to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly
6. Add the 2 egg yolks to the pan and mix to combine
7. Remove the core of the cabbage to release the outer leaves. Discard the first outer leaf, then gently remove the next 8 inner leaves from the base
8. Place the 8 leaves into salted boiling water for 4 minutes, remove and refresh in a bowl of ice cold water for 5 more minutes
9. Pat the leaves dry and use a small sharp knife to trim down any large thick veins, without cutting it out completely so that the leaves remain in 1 piece – the aim is to have a leaf with as even a surface as possible
10. One by one, sandwich each leaf between 2 clean tea towels and use a rolling pin to firmly press the cabbage leaves flat, as if you are rolling pastry
11. Place a sheet of cling film on a work surface and lay 1 leaf on top. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of the haggis mix onto the centre of the leaf
12. Roll over the length of cabbage closest to you to enclose the mix. Fold in the sides and roll forward to make a parcel
13. Wrap tightly in the cling film to hold the shape and tie off each end to seal. Repeat to form 8 haggis rolls in total. Poach in simmering water for 30 minutes
14. Remove from the water and allow to cool slightly. Snip one end of cling film to release each haggis and serve immediately with roasted root vegetables, potatoes, vegetarian gravy, or as preferred
By Graham Campbell, Great British Chefs