Stuffed cabbage with kimchi, swede, Caerphilly cheese and apple

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The hot, tangy, intense flavour of kimchi is paired with swede, apples and Caerphilly cheese in this unusual but incredible stuffed cabbage dish from chef Neil Campbell. Served with a buttery kimchi juice and orange sauce with crispy sage leaves to finish, it's a wonderful example of how sweet and salty flavours can work in perfect harmony.

Neil has included instructions for making your own kimchi at home, but if you haven't got time to wait a week for it to ferment, you can use shop-bought kimchi and skip to step 7 (you'll still need a few cabbage leaves for stuffing, however).

First published in 2021





Kimchi butter sauce

Apple compote


  • 1l Kilner jar, or vacuum bags and a chamber sealer
  • Barbecue or chargrill pan
  • Food processor or blender


Begin a week in advance, to allow the kimchi to ferment. Remove the large outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside in the fridge – these will be used for rolling, while the rest of the cabbages will be used for the kimchi. You want 4-8 large outer leaves for rolling, depending on how many cabbage rolls you want to serve per portion
Blanch the outer cabbage leaves in salted boiling water for a few minutes until tender, then drain and transfer to an ice bath. Once chilled, lay the cabbage leaves on kitchen paper to absorb the moisture, then store in the fridge until you’re ready to build the rolls in a week
Weigh the remaining cabbage centres, then work out 2% of the weight – you will need this amount of salt to kickstart the fermentation process (e.g. 1kg of cabbage means you’ll need 20g of salt). Sprinkle the salt in between the leaves of the cabbages, gently scrunching, squeezing and rolling the cabbages as you work. Place them in a large bowl and set aside to sweat, sprinkling any remaining salt over the top. Leave for 30 minutes
Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the kimchi ferment paste in a blender and blitz into a paste
Once the cabbages have been salted for 30 minutes and look a bit sweaty, squeeze them once more (as if you’re wringing out a wet towel) to remove excess water. Make sure you have a clean, sterilised fermentation jar ready
Place a cabbage in the base of the fermentation jar, pulling it apart slightly if needed so it creates a flat layer. Spread a quarter of the ferment paste on top, then repeat with the rest of the cabbages, creating alternate layers of cabbage and ferment paste. The top layer should be ferment paste. Push a sheet of cling film onto the top layer of paste to limit air exposure, then seal the jar. Leave at room temperature for 1 week, ‘burping’ the jar by opening and closing the lid each day to allow built-up gas to escape. Once you’re happy with the flavour, you can transfer the jar to the fridge to halt the fermentation process. If you have a PH meter, it should be below 3.5. This will make more kimchi than you need for this dish, but it will last for months and is a delicious thing to have in the fridge!
The day before you plan to serve the dish, preheat an oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6. Trim the base of the swedes flat so they can stand upright in a roasting dish, then drizzle with plenty of oil and season generously with salt. Cook in the oven for 1 hour, then turn the temperature down to 130°C fan/150°C/gas mark 2 and cook for a further 3-4 hours, basting with the oil every 30 minutes, until completely soft in the centre and wrinkled on the outside. Leave to cool overnight
The next day, light a barbecue and set up an indirect heat zone (you could also use a griddle pan over a low-medium heat). Cut each swede into quarters, then slowly grill, turning often. You’re looking to dry out the flesh, giving it a smoky, wrinkled texture, with plenty of charring on the outside. Once charred and dry, set aside to cool
While the swede grills, prepare the compote. Peel and core the apples, then cut into large even chunks. Melt the butter in a wide frying pan, add the apples on top and pour over the lemon juice. Place a piece of baking paper on top of the apples (known as a cartouche) and cook over a gently heat until the apples soften and start to fall apart. Be careful not to colour the apples; you just want them to gently cook through. Once ready, either keep warm or reheat before serving
Lift out some of the cabbage from your kimchi jar and squeeze it over a sieve set over a bowl to collect the juices. Keep doing this until you have 200g of kimchi juice (set the cabbage aside for later). Pour the juice into a pan and add the orange juice, then place over a medium heat until starting to reduce and thicken. Set aside to finish later
Now it’s time to prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Dice the swede, squeezed cabbages and Caerphilly cheese into 1cm cubes, then mix with 7g of the chopped sage leaves. Spoon this mixture into your blanched cabbage leaves, rolling them up tightly and tucking in the sides to create a neat parcel. Lay the parcels in a tight-fitting roasting tray, drizzle with a little oil and scatter the remaining sage leaves over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  • 300g of Caerphilly cheese, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 bunch of sage, leaves picked
While the cabbage rolls bake, finish the sauce. Reheat the kimchi reduction and slowly whisk in the diced butter until completely emulsified. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or lemon juice as needed, but do not allow the sauce to boil. Reheat the apple compote if needed
To plate, place a spoonful of apple compote in the bottom of each bowl, then top with a cabbage roll (or 2 if you have made enough). Spoon the kimchi sauce around the compote, then finish with the roasted sage leaves, a fine grating of Caerphilly and a drizzle of smoked rapeseed oil

With shelves brimming with homemade pickles and ferments, a charcoal grill that takes serious skill to master and access to the best ingredients from small suppliers and farms, Neil Campbell creates veg-focused dishes like no one else in the UK.

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