Lamb dishes are part of spring’s culinary tradition. Americans, in general, eat far less of this tasty creature than the rest of the world. Perhaps it is in response to many old-fashioned Irish and English preparations that had much to be desired, or maybe because it is part of the economic reality that raising cattle is more lucrative that raising sheep. Whatever the reason, eating lamb is underrated stateside. This recipe makes use of ground lamb and provides an opportunity to experience lamb without the mutton associations. Wrapped in Savoy cabbage leaves, seasoned with harissa, and layered with buttery mashed potatoes and layers of roasted red peppers, this preparation is an unexpected pretty spring treat.
cuisine English
difficulty Moderate
season Winter & Spring
serves 4 to 6


  • 1 head Savoy cabbage
  • Butter for the pan
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb sausage
  • 1/4 cup harissa
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring two large pots of salted water to a boil.
  3. Core the cabbage, separate the leaves, and discard or remove any course ones.
  4. Add the leaves to one pot of boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  5. Add the potatoes to the other pot and boil until a fork or knife easily slides through the potatoes.
  6. In a small pot, bring the half and half and the butter to a simmer (do not boil).
  7. Drain the potatoes and set aside until cool enough to handle. Then pass the potatoes through a potato ricer.
  8. Add the potatoes to the hot half-and-half mixture and stir until combined. Turn off the heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Set the potatoes aside.
  9. Grease the bottom of a 6-inch diameter cake pan or souffle dish with the butter.
  10. Place the largest of the cabbage leaves, dome side down, in the pan. Top with another cabbage leaf and continue placing the leaves around the pan until the base is completely covered.
  11. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, Add the lamb sausage, garlic, and harissa. Stir and break up any larger chunks of sausage and cook until the meat is browned. 
  12. Pour in crushed tomatoes and simmer until nearly all the juices have been absorbed about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add additional harissa, salt, and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool. 
  13. Add the egg to the meat mixture and mix well. 
  14. Place a 1/2 inch thick layer of meat into the cabbage-lined pan. Top with another cabbage leaf (or two if the leaves aren't large enough to cover the entire center and sides of the pan covering completely the lamb mixture.
  15. Dollop a 1/2 inch layer of potatoes over the cabbage.
  16. Top with another cabbage leaf (or two if the leaves aren't large enough to cover the entire center and sides of the pan and add another 1/2 layer of meat, another layer of cabbage leaves, and finish with a second layer of potatoes. 
  17. Finish with a final layer of cabbage leaves. Tuck the leaves on all sides .
  18. Bake for 40 minutes. Invert a plate over the cake pan. Without hesitation flip the plate and dish, sit it on the counter, and carefully unmold the pie. 
  19. Cut into slices and serve.