What to do with an almost whole head of leftover cabbage? In cool weather, which we are STILL experiencing in the Northeast, braising is a great option. After a quick Google on the web, Russ came across this simple recipe from thekitchn.com. We had all of the ingredients on hand so it was a perfect side dish for our seared pork chop entrée.
Cabbage is pretty simple, as vegetables go. It’s a beautiful, firm ball of Spring-colored leaves with a distinct pungent scent and taste. But when chopped up and left to melt and brown in salty, savory bacon fat, cabbage transforms into a pot of soft, mellow vegetable magic that soothes the soul. And trust me, until the weather starts warming up around here, the soul and other body parts need some soothing…
Rooted in the Southern tradition of cooking, fresh cabbage cooks in bacon fat for an easy side dish that delivers pure, vegetable comfort. It starts with cooking thick-cut bacon bits, until they’re crispy. They get set aside and wedges of cabbage go into the pan.
Rather than chopping the cabbage into pieces, keep the cabbage attached to the core, making for soft, tender hunks of cabbage to spoon onto each plate. This creates soft cabbage “fans” on the plate once they are cooked down and ready to eat. The cabbage gets braised in broth until tender, with a titch of apple cider vinegar to finish.
Not a bacon fan? Substitute black pepper pastrami in its place. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
One-Pot Braised Cabbage with Bacon
- 5 thick-cut slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick pieces
- Olive oil, if needed
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut through the core into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven on medium-high heat.
- Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and most of the fat is rendered, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Take the pot off the heat and let cool a few minutes. If you have less than 3 tablespoons of grease in the pot, add olive oil to make up the difference.
- Place the Dutch oven back over medium-high heat; add the garlic and stir.
- Place the cabbage wedges cut-side down in the pot (they will not sit in one layer). Cook undisturbed until the cabbage pieces on the bottom begin to slightly brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon, bring up the cabbage sitting on the bottom to rotate the pieces on the top to the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking until the cabbage slightly wilts and more pieces brown on the edges, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the broth, bay leaf, and salt. Simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the cabbage is tender and all the liquid is evaporated, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Scatter the crispy bacon on top and serve immediately.
We served ours with seared bone-in pork chops and roasted butternut squash.
TIP FOR SLICING SQUASH:
With a fork, pierce the outer layer along the length of both sides of squash. Microwave on high for three minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice along perforation to cut in half easily. Drizzle with butter or olive oil, sprinkle with spices and finish roasting in a 400 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes until fork tender.