Stuffed cabbage is the kind of "simple French food" that involves painstaking work. You make your stuffing; you carefully detach leaves from a head of cabbage; you blanch them; you assemble little parcels of leaves and stuffing. The recipe suggestion in my vegetable box last week dispensed with all that stuffing nonsense. You slice the cabbage, and steam or boil if for five minutes; you layer it with sausage meat; you put it in the oven. That's it. It might be simpler still: why bother with the initial cooking of the cabbage when it's going to steam in the oven for an hour and a half?
I like an easy life; but even I think that it may be worth putting in a bit more work than that. This is what I made (for four) yesterday.
250 g pork mince
250 g beef mince
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Large handful parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
As I have written, the easiest way to brown mince is to form it into hamburger-like patties. Make about eight patties with the pork and beef; put a frying pan over a medium-to-high heat; when the pan is hot, pour in a layer of oil. Fry the patties in two or three batches -- if you crowd the pan you will lower the temperature, with the result that water escaping from the meat will not evaporate and the meat will not brown. You want to give it no more than a minute on each side. Put the browned mince into a bowl.
In another pan, soften the onion and garlic in some more olive oil until golden -- about 15 minutes. Tip them into the mince, along with the parsley, salt, and a lot of pepper. (You might like a little nutmeg, too.) Mix it all up, with your hands if you like.
Halve the cabbage vertically, then slice horizontally. You do not have to get rid of the core, which will soften with slow cooking. Wash and refresh the cabbage slices for a minute or two in a bowl of cold water.
Put a layer of cabbage in a casserole or other oven dish. Add a layer of meat, some more cabbage, some more meat, and some more cabbage. Cover, and bake gently in a gas mark 1/140 C oven for three hours.
Cabbage is delicious if cooked for five minutes, or if cooked for an hour and a half or longer. Cook it for 20 minutes, and it will evoke the horrors of institutional dinners.
The cabbage at the top of the dish will brown. That doesn't matter. Make sure the oven heat is gentle, though. I turned down my oven to its lowest setting for the last hour.
The meat does not cohere, as the term "stuffing" would imply. So this is a stuffed cabbage in which the cabbage is not stuffed, and the stuffing is not stuffing. I recommend it, though.