I love cabbage. If you love it like me, you’ll definitely fall for my southern cabbage recipe. It’s easy, quick, and super delicious. To my surprise, everybody in my frustratingly picky household loves it too.
Cabbage is all about the flavor and good pot liquor. I love a good pot liquor! The best tasting cabbage recipes I grew up on were always basic. So that’s how I like to keep mine. I hate all these new aged cabbage recipes where people are adding all these ridiculous spices and other ingredients, for something that is meant to be kept simple. Sometimes I just wanna say, “Come on man! You’re killin’ the vibe!”
With the exception of the way my Caribbean brethren make it, cabbage should be kept pretty simple to preserve the natural flavor.
I also don’t boil mine. Even though I was raised on boiled cabbage. I like to let the steam do most of the cooking for my recipe. It keeps the leafy greens intact and gives it a nice texture. So, what I like to do is keep the water to a minimum and start the dish off with the good meaty flavor of salt pork and a savory Irish butter (’cause I’m fancy) to round it all out, before I add any seasonings.
The point is to let the flavor seep into the cabbage instead of sitting on top of it.
- 1 head of cabbage
- 5 slices of salt pork
- 2 cups of water
- Pinch of sugar
- 2-3 pats of Butter (my fav is Irish Butter)
Preheat large pot over medium-high heat. When ready, add salt pork pieces, laying each piece a few inches apart. Let them fry for a few minutes and then turn each piece over with a fork. You want to make sure not to burn the meat, so turn it often until it becomes like hard bacon. Not burnt bacon, just hard bacon 🙂 Then remove the pan from heat and set aside.
If pork isn’t your thing you can substitute for a piece of smoked turkey, but be sure to cook it with a little oil to help brown (caramelize) the outside.
Next, place your cabbage on a cutting board or good surface and chop off the tough stem. Then, slice the cabbage into large workable pieces. Take each piece and chop it down into 4-5 inch pieces. Try to use as much of your cabbage as possible. It’s ok to get rid of any tough pieces that were close to the stem.
After chopping, add all of the cabbage to a large bowl and give it a good wash in cold water. I recommend triple washing when it comes to cabbage. You want to make sure to remove all traces of dirt.
Place your pot back on the burner on medium heat and add cabbage. Add as much as your pot can hold. Like most leafy greens, cabbage will reduce as it cooks so if you have any left over you can add it in shortly.
Next, add your water and cover. Let it cook for a few minutes to reduce a bit and then add in any leftover pieces of cabbage. Give it another stir.
Add butter, salt, pepper (to taste) and sugar. Stir from the bottom up, making sure to rotate the cabbage and meat well. Cover and let it simmer so the steam can finish the deal.
Now depending on your preference, cabbage is done once it’s tender and easy to break with a fork. If you prefer a slightly crunchier cabbage, turn off heat and remove from the burner before the lighter green leaves in the pot start to fade.
This is how I prefer my cabbage. Tender and juicy but never mushy. I also think they taste much better the next day after the juices have saturated it even more. So, this dish works great when prepared a day in advance.
Let me know how you like it! For more of my recipes and other foodie content, click here!
How do you like your cabbage?