Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cabbage Smothered with Bacon

Wanting to use up some left over cabbage or just went on an impulse buy at the local farmer's market and not sure what to do with that sizable head? That was our dilemma on today's Food Quest installment. So what could you possibly do with this understated vegetable? We found an answer! This time we take a peek at an unlikely recipe book in our eclectic kitchen library which gives us a solution - Ideas for Entertaining from the African-American Kitchen by Angela Shelf Medearis. The book itself is filled with meal ideas set up as a menu then discusses how to make each item in order to celebrate various holidays throughout the year. Chapters are divided by month and celebration which are as follows: 

  • January
    • Emancipation day - Jubilee Dinner Party
    • An Afrocentric Baby Shower
    • Martin Luther King Day Celebration
  • February
    • African-American History Month Buffet
    • African-style Engagement Dinner for Two
  • March
    • Women in History Month - Sisters' Rejuvenation Brunch
  • April
    • Traditional Easter Dinner
    • Blue Monday Party
  • May
    • National Malcom X Day Dinner
    • Memorial Day Dinner on the Grounds Picnic
  • June
    • Junteenth Caribbean-Style Dinner
    • Jumping the Broom Rehearsal Dinner
  • July
    • Fourth of July Family Reunion Barbecue
  • August
    • Young Adult Rites of Passage Dinner
  • September
    • Honoring the Ancestors - Parents' Day Dinner
  • October
    • Heroes' Day Children's Party
  • November
    • Thanksgiving Harvest Celebration Dinner
  • December
    • An Old-Fashioned Christmas Dinner
    • Kwanzaa Karamu Feast
In the Martin Luther King Day Celebration section, one of the side dishes caught our attention which was perfect for our needs. 

Cabbage Smothered with Bacon
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small head cabbage, washed and shredded
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, cut diagonally into thin slices

     Fry the bacon until crisp in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Remove the bacon and set aside, reserving the bacon drippings in the pan as they will add flavor and moisture to the cabbage. Add the cabbage, bell pepper, onion, tomato, and celery to the pan. Raise the heat to high and fry the vegetables, stirring constantly, for 5 to 8 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer the vegetables for another 5 minutes. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the vegetables. 

- The Artist - 

The recipe was rather easy to follow, the cooking of the bacon taking most of the time to cook. The only item in the ingredients list that I changed for this was instead of a green bell pepper, I used a yellow one instead since I'm not personally a fan of the bitterness that the green has. Since I was working with a massive amount of cabbage, I put a lid over the whole pan of vegetables for them to sweat down a minute or two before I was able to actually stir the entire mixture. Flavor-wise, it was very reminiscent of something I had in my use when I lived in Germany for a few years. Though simple, the butteryness of the cabbage was brought out by the drippings of the bacon. This went perfectly with the sweetness of the bell pepper and tomato which was itself balanced out by the salty bacon. Since this was a side dish, I had made a herb seasoned pot roast and jasmine rice to go along with it. 

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