Thousand Leaves Stuffed Cabbage

I can’t explain why I’ve been craving stuffed cabbage, but there it is. My mother never made it while we were growing up. The only time I ate it as a child was when I went to my friend Joan’s house for dinner. Her family owned the local funeral home, and they lived upstairs. Her mother made stuffed cabbage the evening I visited, and after dinner Joan invited me to go downstairs to comb the hair of their latest “guests.” I declined. But ever since then, I’ve really enjoyed stuffed cabbage in the fall and winter. There are variations of stuffed vegetables, especially stuffed cabbage, all over the world. This recipe is one I made two years ago. The umeboshi adds such a lovely flavor to the rich pork and sweet cabbage that I hope you will try this recipe.

Napa Cabbage Millefeuille with Pork Belly

Mille–feuille (pronunciation: \mēl-ˈfwē, mēl-ˈfœ-ē\) is an interesting word, coming from French, means a thousand leaves. It is usually a dish composed of puff pastry layered with a filling (as salmon or cream). In this case however, cabbage leaves are layered with the sliced pork, mashed umiboshi, and kombu. Then they are arranged edgewise in a heavy pot: the layers look like petals of ruffly flower. Like many casseroles, it is not so beautiful on the plate, but the rich and savory flavor is more than enough compensation…