This traditional Irish dish never appealed to me. The idea of boiling cabbage for however long (to death) in the bacon cooking liquid, fills me with sadness.
I've never 'boiled' cabbage of the white or green variety in my life and I certainly won't start any time soon.
I've always sauteed cabbage in a bit of butter with yes, a little water or stock if necessary, and only to the stage of 'al dente'. Seasoning with salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a good helping of nutmeg, grated on the spot.
In modern Ireland sauteed cabbage is more and more the norm. Fortunately.
The bacon used is cured in brine and then boiled in water with flavourings like bay leaf, onion, carrot, celery....
We have smoked bacon from our pigs in the freezer and cabbage from the garden and I set to work to make a, for us appealing, bacon and cabbage dinner.
For the bacon
- 1 bacon joint (enough for the family and/or leftovers)
- cider (I used 2 ltr for this)
- Put the joint into a cooking pot.
- Pour in the cider and top up with cold water till meat is covered.
- Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer 25 minutes per 0.5 kg (500 gr), plus an extra 20 minutes.
- Take the bacon out and keep warm
For the cabbage
- green, savoy or spring cabbage, 1 or 2, depending on size and density.
- a knob of butter or lard
- a splash of bacon cooking liquid
- 1 tsp mustard
- seasoning (salt, black pepper and nutmeg)
- Trim the cabbage of outer leaves, halve or quarter it and shred/cut into largish strips.
- Melt butter in a cooking pot and turn heat up high.
- Add the cabbage, stir and turn heat low again.
- Sautee until al dente
- You might need that cooking liquid to prevent burning the cabbage.
- Add the mustard and season.
- If you wish you can add cream or thicken with cornflour in a bit of milk.
Serve this with a thick slice of bacon and boiled or steamed potatoes.
Now don't discard the cooking liquid. Store it in the freezer or make a soup with it straight away. I did. I made a whole pot of delicious erwtensoep/snert or pea soup in English. Recipe to follow soon.