I think I'll take a philosophical point of view on this one and say that the time had to be ripe, the planets had to align and so this was the right moment. Oh well!
I will say this though, now that I have made it, I won't stop. It's that good.
With utmost respect for Cordon Bleu, unlike so many of their recipes that are over done (which is the reason I have such respect for Richard Grausman and his books) this one is marvelous - in it's simplicity, in it's flavor - just simply, honest food the way I like it best.
I have omitted 2 steps from the recipe that I thought were unnecessary - 1) I have not double stewed the Savoy cabbage 2) I did not truss the Cornish hens.
I also only ever do the bouquet garni, using the Grausman method (shown below).
Before I get carried away, let me tell you a little something about this stew - large quarters of Savoy cabbage, thick slices of Kielbasa polish sausage, lardons of bacon nestle perfectly moist little Cornish hens. This is achieved by first roasting and then adding the birds to the stew.
The original recipe calls for guinea hens which are much gamier but I could only find Cornish hens which I have substituted here.
What makes this stew unique is that unlike most stews where all the ingredients are cooked together in a big pot and the flavors meld, this stew is a fine representation of palimpsest - a juxtaposition of flavors since each key ingredient - cabbage, bacon, sausage & cornish hens and quickly prepared separately and put together at the very end.
Don't be distressed by what sounds like a lot of work. I usually begin in this stew in the morning for a nice luncheon or a small dinner party or for just for a special family meal. A nice green salad and some crusty bread is all that it takes to finish the meal.
It is great as leftovers the next day which is always welcome with our busy schedule.