La Caillette:  Greens-rich Meatballs with Liver in Delicate Caul Lace Pouches

Recipe from Lyon: la Caillette, between pâté and a meatball. 


Lucy Vanel, owner of the Plum Lyon Teaching Kitchen, walks you through the preparation a favorite greens-laced meatball common in Lyon, la caillette.


During the 19th century, steady shipments of cultivated silk worms made their way up from Ardèche along a centuries-old trade route along the Rhone river to Lyon.

La Caillette, a recipe from Lyon area

La caillette is a greens-rich country style cross between pâté and a meatball wrapped in caul lace.

Along old trade roads, there is always an influx along with the traders of traditions from other places.

There are many versions of la Caillette

One beautiful example is la caillette, a greens-rich country style cross between pâté and a meatball. 

Today in Lyon, there are many versions to choose from along the stalls of the Croix Rousse market, and Lyon’s local butchers include their version of the Caillette in their rotation, changing the greens with the season.

La Caillette, a farm tradition from Ardèche near Lyon

This dish originates as a farm tradition, where recipes varied from family to family. Some used lettuce, cabbage or nettles in place of the chard, some used foraged wild herbs, and others used poultry livers in place of the pork liver.

Take this recipe as a template and swap in what is most conveniently available to you at home.

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RECIPE: La Caillette:  Caul Lace Wrapped Meat and Greens

Recipe from Lyon, la Caillette

This dish originates as a farm tradition where recipes varied from family to family. © Lucy Vanel


Serves 6




  • 500 grams Swiss Chard leaves
  • 1 branch celery
  • 100 grams spinach
  • 150 grams pork liver
  • 150 grams sausage meat
  • basil, fresh leaves chopped fine
  • thyme, fresh leaves chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon 4 epices
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to season
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, to season
  • 1-2 teaspoons butter or lard, for the baking dish
  • 6 pieces crepine de pork, cut to about 10 cm x 10 cm each



  • Blanch the Greens: Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Chop the celery into small pieces. Wash the chard and spinach thoroughly and plunge them with the celery into the water. Bring back to a boil, let the greens simmer for an additional minute before removing fromthe water and rinsing under cold water in a strainer.Press out the water,transfer the greens mixture to a cutting boardand chop roughly.
Recipe from Lyon, la Caillette

6 pieces crepine de pork are needed for the caillette recipe © Lucy Vanel

  • Make the stuffing: Add the sausage meat and the chopped pork liver and mix together well. Add the spices and work together to distribute the spices evenly in the stuffing.


  • Stuff the Cailettes: Lay out the pieces of caul lace on a clean cutting board, and then place a heaping spoonfull of the stuffing on them. Fold the edges over the heap of stuffing to form a little packet.
Recipe from Lyon, la caillette.

Caillettes are stuffed sausage with greens, spices, sausage meat and chopped pork liver. © Lucy Vanel

  • Bake: Grease a baking dish that can take the 6 cailettes rather snugly, and place them inside. Bake at 400F/200C for approximately 20 minutes.


  • Serve : Caillettes are delicious served hot with mashed potatoes or cold with French cornichons or a generously dressed salad.



Other recipes from Lyon by Lucy Vanel