At this time of the year, when we wish that Spring was there, when the daffodils are coming through and the snowdrops are getting tired; when the temperature is rising one day just to bite back the next, we still need that comfort food to reassure us and to help us to deal with the winter blues. This dish is by far my favorite dish, it reminds me of those bitter but sunny winter days in Languedoc. I still can see my grandmother preparing it, and I still can remember coming back home for lunch, after having spent the morning collecting wild leeks and dandelion in the local vineyards with my brothers, opening the kitchen doors to be hit with the smell of braised cabbage and duck. How quickly our hands were scrubbed and washed, and we were soon sitting at the table waiting for dinner.
Ingredients for 6 persons
800g of minced duck legs (good quality sausage meat or minced pork will do) 5 onions finely sliced 1 whole chopped onion 2 carrots finely sliced 1 large bunch of flat parsley roughly chopped 1 glove of garlic crushed 6 grains of juniper berries 100g of foie gras (not indispensable but preferable) ½ a tea spoon of truffle oil (as per the foie gras) 4 bay leaves 200g of still country bread soaked in milk 2 whole eggs ¼ litre of dry white wine or Noilly pratt 1 large cabbage Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan of salted boiling water cook the cabbage for about 10 minutes. Refresh under cold water, then carefully remove the leaves and pat them dry with a towel. In a large container, place the sliced onions, half the garlic, the sliced carrots, the juniper berries, add the wine and a glass of water and bring to the boil. Prepare the farce by blending with a spoon, the duck meat, the chopped onions, the bread, eggs, parsley oil, garlic and seasoning.
Place a large towel on your table and arrange a layer of cabbage leaves.
Cover them with duck farce, then start again until all the cabbage and farce is used.
Bring the side of the towel together to form a ball and tied with a piece of string. Place in the pan with the wine and cook slowly for 30/45 minutes.
To check if the cabbage is cooked, Pierce it to the core with a sharp narrow knife or skewer. When the top of the skewer is hot, the farce is cooked.
To serve, place on a serving dish in the center of the table or portion like a cake and slice.
Serve with the cooking juices, carrots and onions and a creamy mashed potatoes.