The idea for this hearty meal came together after two separate trips to the grocery store in which I picked up items I have never tried: farro and spring cabbages. The farro made its way into our basket at whole foods. Though we have a pantry full of nearly every kind of rice, pasta and grain you can imagine we simply had to try this one. I am so glad we did. The texture is chewy, not unlike pinhead oats and the flavor is nutty like toasted brown rice, and it is porous enough to hold a good deal of stock during cooking. The only drawback to the farro is that it must be soaked for 8 hours before you can cook with it, so it takes some planning ahead. We spotted the spring cabbages in the produce department at Schnucks. They look like small heads of cabbage, but they are not as tightly wound. The flavor is much milder than most large cabbages, and they are the perfect size for stuffing.
6 spring cabbages (blanched for 4 minutes and cooled)
2 cups cooked farro (use vegetable stock instead of water for extra flavor)
1/2 onion (diced)
1 green pepper diced
2 field roast (crumbled)
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup panko
In a pan over medium-high heat saute´the field roast, onion, and pepper in a bit of olive oil until it is soft and starting to brown. Mix together with farro, add S & P, and allow to cool. Open a cabbage (like a flower) and stuff it with the farro mixture leaving enough room for the leaves to close at the top. Secure with some kitchen twine. Repeat. Melt butter in an oven-proof pan, and sear the stuffed cabbages in the butter. Sprinkle each with the cheese, and panko*. Place in a 350 degree oven to stay warm. Pop them under the broiler just before serving to brown the top. I sliced up some carrots and potatoes, and The Wife made a delicious Endive salad with blue cheese, chopped apples and pears with a sherry vinaigrette.
*If you want cheese to stay on top of the thing you put it on top of, then all you have to do is sprinkle a few bread crumbs on top of the cheese. It will stay.