Vegan Chou Farci (Stuffed Cabbage) Recipe

(Cabbage Stuffed with Barley and Split Peas)
Fort Lauderdale Personal Chef - Vegan Chou Farci (Stuffed Cabbage) Recipe

Be sure your barley and split peas are cooked prior to beginning this recipe. To save time, you can cook your barley in a pressure cooker or use ‘quick barley’.
1 large head of cabbage
1/2 cup barley/118 ml/78g, cooked (other grains can be used such as farro)
1/2 tablespoon/30ml olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots diced
1 1/2 cups/343 ml/300g cooked split peas, drained
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (or other paprika if you have on hand)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2-1 cup/125-250ml  tomato sauce or juice
In a large pot, large enough to submerge the whole cabbage, fill with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add salt.
Discard large outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the bottom of the core, but not too deep, and remove. Place the cabbage top side down and insert a fork into the cut core. Keeping the fork in the cabbage, use it as a handle and place into the boiling water.  Reduce the heat of the water to a high simmer and let sit for 8-10 minutes to soften the leaves. When softened, remove the cabbage using the fork and place in a colander to drain.
Heat a large deep skillet. Add onions and carrots and cook until the onions soften. Add water by the teaspoon if needed to help prevent sticking. Add barley, split peas and spices. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let cool. When cool, mix in the beaten egg.
When the cabbage is drained, remove the fork and place core side down on a surface. Gently pull back cabbage leaves one by one until you have just a small ball of cabbage. (At this point, the cabbage will look like a blooming flower.)  Carefully, cut the small ball of cabbage from the outer leave making sure not to cut any of the leaves. All the remaining leaves MUST be attached to the core. With the small ball of cabbage removed. Place a handful of the filling in the middle of the cabbage where the small ball was located. Carefully place the open cabbage leaves over the mixture.  Continue adding the mixture in between the cabbage leaves, then covering (closing the ‘blooming flower’). When the cabbage if full and all the leaves are put back, creating a stuffed cabbage. Either tie into place with butcher twine or use cheesecloth then tie with the twine to keep the shape of the cabbage. Set aside.
Take the small ball of cabbage and chop. Add to a pot large enough to hold the stuffed cabbage. Place the tied stuffed cabbage inside the pot on top of the chopped cabbage. Pour the tomato sauce around the cabbage.  It should be about half way up the re-formed cabbage.. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a medium low. Let simmer for 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the cabbage.  Remove the tied cabbage from the sauce.
Cut and remove twine and cheesecloth if using. Place the stuffed cabbage on a cutting surface and cut into wedges.
Serve a wedge atop of the tomato cabbage mixture in the pot used for simmering.