Bacon and Cabbage

History

Irish bacon and cabbage is a classic dish that holds a significant place in Irish culinary history. Its origins can be traced back to the rural farming communities of Ireland, where it emerged as a simple and hearty meal made from readily available ingredients. Cabbage has long been a staple vegetable in Ireland due to its ability to thrive in the country’s cool and damp climate. Bacon, traditionally made from pork loin or shoulder, was also a common ingredient in Irish households, particularly in rural areas where pigs were raised for meat. The dish gained popularity during the 18th and 19th centuries when it became a mainstay of the Irish diet, especially among the working class and farming communities. It was a nutritious and filling meal that provided sustenance during long days of manual labour. Irish bacon and is often associated with traditional Irish holidays and celebrations, such as St. Patrick’s Day. While its popularity has waned somewhat in urban areas and with the rise of more modern dishes, it still holds a special place in the hearts and kitchens of many Irish families.

Ingredients

  • 2.2 kg loin of thick-cut bacon
  • One head of Savoy cabbage
  • Four tablespoons butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500ml and 70ml Milk
  • 40g and 50g Flour
  • 50g  and 20g Butter

Instructions

  1. Cover bacon in cold water in a large pot and bring it slowly to a boil.
  2. If bacon is very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water, in which case it is discard the water and start again. (You can avoid this by soaking the bacon over night in water and discard the water in the morning).
  3. Simmer until bacon is almost cooked, allowing 35 minutes for every 1 kg.
  4. Wash the savoy cabbage in cold water.
  5. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut the rest into quarters, removing the hard core.  Cut the cabbage into thin slices. Wash it again in salted cold water. About 20 minutes before the end of cooking the bacon, add the sliced cabbage to the pot of simmering bacon.
  6. Stir, cover, and continue to boil gently until both cabbage and bacon are cooked, about 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Peel potatoes and cut in quarters. Put in pot and cover with cold water, bring to boil and cook until the potatoes are soft to touch with prodded with a knife. Once soft, drain water and season with 20g of dairy butter, 70ml of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mash until potatoes are soft and creamy.
  8. Make parsley sauce. Melt 50g butter in a pan over a medium-low heat, then stir in the 40g flour. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 mins until a paste forms.
  9. Gradually pour in the milk (500ml), stirring continuously until all the milk has been incorporated and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. If the sauce is lumpy, whisk for a few minutes more, or strain through a sieve and return to the pan. Bring to a simmer and bubble for 1 min. Remove from the heat and stir through the parsley. Add the lemon juice and mustard to taste, if using. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Renewal

Use lean meat, if possible, otherwise trim off any fat from the meat.

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