Traditional Irish Bacon and Cabbage
Comfort food at its best, and second only to Irish stew, bacon and cabbage is one of Ireland's most traditional dishes. Parsley Sauce or Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce is the usual accompaniment, along with boiled potatoes and often turnips and carrots.Ingredients:
3 pounds Irish boiling bacon (shoulder or collar)*
1 small head cabbage, cored and quartered
Parsley Sauce Boiled potatoes for servingParsley Sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup bacon cooking liquid
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsleyWhole-Grain Mustard Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter
1 Small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups bacon cooking liquid, plus more as needed
1 1/4 cups half-and-half, plus more as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to tasteMethod:
1. Put the bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water slowly to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, skimming the water occasionally to remove the foam, for 1 1/2 hours (about 30 minutes per pound), or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork.
2. About 20 minutes before the bacon is cooked, add the cabbage. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender, but not soggy. Transfer the bacon to a serving dish, and let cool for so minutes before slicing. Drain the cabbage, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid for the Parsley Sauce or 1/2 cups for the Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce, and transfer to a serving dish.
3. To serve, slice the meat and serve it with the cabbage, potatoes, and sauce.
SERVES 4 TO 6To make parsley sauce:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Gradually stir in the flour. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until blended. Slowly stir in the cooking liquid, then the milk. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the salt, pepper, and parsley and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to minutes more, or until the sauce is smooth. Serve warm.To make whole grain mustard sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for minutes, or until soft. Stir in the mustard and wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooking liquid and half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture has a creamy consistency. Add more boiling liquid or half-and-half, if needed, to make a smooth sauce. Serve warm.*Traditional Irish Bacon
All bacon is not created equal. For many years, the most important meat in Ireland was pork, either fresh, or cured as bacon, and even today the popularity of pork and pork products is unwavering. In Ireland, only the leg of the pig is called "ham" (it's also called "gammon"); otherwise, the cured meat is bacon.
Back bacon, from which rashers come, is actually cut from the loin and cured in spices. It can be cooked as a joint or roast (often glazed with a sweet red currant or tangy mustard sauce), cut into chops, or added to dishes like Roast Chicken with Bacon and Leeks. Streaky rashers, which are the most flavorful cut because they have a bit more fat, are fried crisp at breakfast, used in sandwiches and soups, in salads such as Bibb, Bacon, and Apple Salad, and in seafood dishes like Roasted Monkfish Wrapped in Bacon. The shoulder or collar of bacon (also called "boiling bacon") is the traditional cut for Bacon and Cabbage, but it is also is ideal for a wide range of other dishes. Cut into chunks, it adds flavor to casseroles like Dublin Coddle, bean dishes, and pasta dishes.
Recipe source and photo credit: Margaret M. Johnson's The Irish Pub Cookbook.http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/