Humble cabbage becomes a savory side dish in just minutes. It’s nice along side roast chicken or salmon for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. For a great weekend breakfast, try it topped with a poached egg. Here’s my recipe for Braised Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon. With a few minutes of easy prep work, this side dish will cook in about 10-12 minutes. I’ve made it several times this week and loved how fast it went.
Braised Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon: Traditional Irish Fare
Cabbage and bacon is traditionally associated with Irish family meals. As many people grew their own vegetables and raised their own pigs, ingredients were readily available.
While the original dish was made with boiled cabbage, potatoes, I’ve taken a bit of modern leeway. My recipe includes cabbage along with carrots (also traditional), leeks instead of onions, and thyme. Instead of boiling the cabbage, I braise it in a little broth.
Not Just for Cole Slaw
Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, so it’s good for you. Cabbage is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamin K (good for your bones), vitamin C, B6, folate and many important minerals. It’s also a good source of fiber. Besides in this warm side dish, cabbage is good in salads, added to vegetable soups and shredded for tacos, even for green juices. However you add it, get cabbage into your healthy diet.
What About Corned Beef and Cabbage?
Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only became associated with St. Patrick’s Day around the turn of the century. It has become and Irish-American tradition. In the “old country”, the original dish was cabbage and bacon. Treat your family to an easy, tasty, modern day version of an Irish classic for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.
Braised Cabbage with Leeks and Bacon
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 large leek
- 1 head green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3/4 cup grated carrot
- 2/3 cup low sodium broth chicken or vegetable
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prep work: Slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Cut root end and dark green top off of leek and discard. Slice leek in half lengthwise. Run leek halves under cold water to remove any sand and dirt. Dry. Lay them flat on a cutting board and chop thinly crosswise. Cut cabbage in half through the root, lay halves flat on a cutting board and slice crosswise into thin ribbons. You will need 4 cups of packed cabbage.
- In a large sauté or fry pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon pieces and drain on paper towels reserving 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in pan. Wipe the rest from the pan. Add olive oil to pan. Heat oil over medium heat. Add leek an carrot and cook about 2 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
- Add cabbage to the pan along with broth, thyme and bay leaf. Stir and turn to coat vegetables well with broth and juices. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Add bacon. Cover pan with a lid and cook until cabbage is soft and wilted, about 7 minutes. Taste to determine if cabbage is done enough for you. If you would prefer it softer, cover and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.