feasting with friends

Chou Farci: The Irish-American Edition

I’m fascinated by the stats that WordPress provides me with my blog. The number of hits and followers. The number of visitors. Over 125 countries have visited…and counting!

The most clicked post here at feasting with friends is Chou Farci: My Americanized version. A close second is my Eggs Benedict Strata. I’ve made the Eggs Benedict strata numerous times. However, I’ve made the Chou Farci once! Yep, once. Until today. Until this Irish-American version.

Chou Farci: Irish American EditionI’ve had the idea of this version in my head for quite a few months. With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I decided the time to create was now.

This Chou Farci is an Irish-American NOT Irish version. For whatever reason, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the states means lots of corned beef and cabbage will be eaten. I can’t figure out why. I’ve been to Ireland. I have absolutely NO memory of seeing corned beef on any menu of any restaurant we visited. Zilch, zero, nada…no corned beef. Yet corned beef and cabbage is EVERYWHERE for the weeks and days leading up to the day of all things Irish in the USA. Being I’m a “good sport”, I play along. :))

Chou Farci: Irish American EditionGlenn and I both have Irish ancestry. I hail from the O’Neal clan and Glenn from the Donahoe. Both families immigrated in the early 1800s. Mine through Canada and Glenn’s via the USA. We both have “interesting” {insert sarcasm} blends of ancestry. Glenn is a pretty solid mix of English, Irish, Scottish and American Indian. I’m English, Irish, German, Belgian, Russian, Slavic, about a dozen others and what my paternal grandmother referred to as gypsy or Bohemian. But…On St. Patrick’s Day…we’re 100% Irish!

Chou Farci: Irish American EditionI relied on my instructions for Chou Farci in preparing this version. It is essentially the same concept. I just used different “fillers” in the assembly. I started with a smallish head of savoy cabbage. I utilized about half of a 4-pound corned beef brisket (cooked in my pressure cooker). I layered 1/8-inch sliced par-boiled potatoes and carrots. Once assembled, I braised the chou farci in beer. I served wedges of the chou farci with a mustard bechamel sauce on the side. The photo below gives you a visual of my assembly.

Chou Farci: Irish American EditionBelow is my “recipe”, though refer to the original recipe for more in-depth instructions.

I’m sharing this stuffed whole cabbage with the Fiesta Friday #59 contributors. Thanks to Angie @The Novice Gardener for opening her doors once more! Thank you also to this weeks co-hosts Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Mila @milkandbun

Chou Farci: Irish American Edition

Irish-American Chou Farci

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Kitchen Tools Needed:
Kitchen string
Dutch oven with Lid

Ingredients for Chou Farci:
1 head savoy cabbage, about 5-inches in diameter
6 carrots
3 yukon gold potatoes
2 pounds cooked corned beef (approximate)
6 ounces beer
6 ounces water
salt, pepper and seasonings/herbs of choice

Ingredients for Mustard Bechamel: (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
2½ cups milk
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper


Heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Remove the individual leaves from the head of cabbage. Use a knife and work through 1 layer at a time to preserve the entire leaf. Rinse well. Par-boil leaves, 6 or so at a time, for 2-3 minutes. Place leaves in a large bowl filled with ice water. Set aside. Keep the pot of water at a simmer for boiling potatoes/carrots.

Peel and slice the potatoes. I used a mandolin set at 1/8-inch to ensure even slicing, though this may done by hand as well. Par-boil the potato slices in the hot water just until easily pierced with a sharp knife; about 3-5 minutes. Rinse in a colander with cool water; set aside.

Peel and slice the carrots. The mandolin may be used set at 1/8-inch or slice by hand. I chose to slice the carrots lengthwise. Parboil until just knife tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water; set aside.

Chop/shred the corned beef; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a bowl (about the size of the whole head of cabbage or slightly larger) with cheesecloth. Make sure there is at least a 8-inch overhang of cheesecloth to allow for easy gathering and tying off.

Line the cheesecloth with cabbage leaves: Start with the largest (outer) leaves of cabbage. Slightly overlap the leaves in the bottom of the bowl (cover it) and allow the leaves to hang over the bowl edge.

Layer the cabbage with 1/3 of the potatoes (no more than 1/2-inch thick). Top the potatoes with 1/3 of the carrot slices (about 2 carrots worth). Top the carrots with 1/3 of the corned beef. Top the corned beef with more cabbage leaves (again overlapping slightly, covering the corned beef completely, edges may overhang the bowl). Repeat with two more layers, ending with the smallest cabbage leaves on top. Note: Season as desired through the layering, though I recommend caution with salt, as corned beef is quite salty.

Gently pull the cheesecloth up, while gently folding the cabbage leaves (from the overhang) over the assembled stuffed cabbage. Tie off the cheesecloth with kitchen string. Remove (cut) excess cheesecloth away. Place stuffed cabbage (string side down) in a dutch oven large enough to contain the chou farci with a lid on.

Pour the beer and water into the dutch oven. Cover the pot, and place in the heated oven. Total braising time will be about 2 hours; baste the chou farci every 30 minutes or so with the pot liquid.

Allow cooked chou farci to stand 10 minutes or so before removing cheesecloth.

To remove the cheesecloth, gently remove the chou farci from the pot (I used two large spoons) and place on a plate. Place another plate on top of the cabbage, carefully and quickly flip the plates so the tied end of the cheesecloth is now facing up. Cut away the string and drape the cheesecloth to the sides.

Once again, cover top of chou farci with a plate and invert (flip). Remove the rest of the cheesecloth. This is the top of chou farci. Cut into wedges and serve.

Directions for Mustard Bechamel:

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Preheat the milk a bit in the microwave (or in a small saucepan) to encourage easier blending. Add the flour to the melted butter. Stir well until the flour is completely blended with the butter. Pour in the warm milk; whisking continually to avoid lumping of the flour. Simmer over low heat to allow thickening of the sauce. Add the prepared mustard, dry mustard and pepper. Heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve on the side.

Chou Farci: Irish-American Edition was first seen on feasting with friends.

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #60 | The Novice Gardener

  2. And I haven’t even made that first Americanized version of chou farci! You are just too creative for words!! Btw, Nancy, HELP! I need another co-host this Friday, FF60. Tracy @Scratch It Cook will be your partner if you decide to do it. Pls let me know!!

  3. Looks stunning and a great mix of flavours Nancy! I’ve never made a choux farci before and now I’ll be looking into it! Thank you for sharing the recipe and your very mixed and interesting ancestry! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!! 🙂

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