Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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Smoked Bacon, Apple, and Cabbage

BC: Before Cabbage
This time of year, the pantry is loaded and the fridge is full. We’re working our way through it all, but we’ve had our fill of rich dishes and heavy meals. My last hurrah will be a huge pot of grillades we’ll cook off this afternoon for a New Year’s breakfast tomorrow. Otherwise we’re winding down the holiday season and have started picking at leftovers rather than cooking many full meals — carving off a few ounces of smoked ham for hash, sandwiches, or snacks; killing off the gravlax, tucking into roasted sweet potatoes from two nights ago; using the last bits from open bottles and jars.

A fridge purge, in other words. Good to do a few times a year, anyway, but eating up everything in what's been a fridge full of rotating food makes me feel — just a bit — virtuous. Either that, or I'm a sensitive about how much money we tend to blow on the holiday feasting and it's time to reel in the spending.

Part of the purge did involve a bit of cooking, but a hot dish of pork and apples — and a few other odds and ends lying about the place — was quick and barely any work at all. The juniper berries give it a whiff of gin; just the thing for a chilly night.

AD: Already Done
Smoked Bacon, Apple, and Cabbage 
8-12 oz smoked bacon, sliced and cut into finger-width pieces
1 green/white cabbage, cored and sliced coarsely
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cooking apples, cored and cut into slices or small chunks 
6-8 juniper berries, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
2 long peppers, crushed (or 1 tsp black pepper)
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 Tbl brown sugar
a knifepoint of ground mace or a few gratings of nutmeg 
Heat the oven at 350°F/180°C. 
In a heavy cast-iron pot with a lid (I use a big-ass Le Creuset), cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and just lightly crisped at the edges. Add the onion and cook until it softens. Add the apple chunks and stir them around until they’ve got a bit of color, then stir in the seasonings and the cabbage. Add the remaining ingredients and cover. Pop it in the oven and cook 30-45 minutes until the apples are cooked through, the cabbage is softened, and the whole thing is piping hot.

Goes well with:


sam k said...

Made this last week, and it's a really good dish! The juniper berries really add something unique.

Much like a good glass of whiskey, even the empty plate smells appealing long afterward. Thanks for the recipe, and Happy New Year!

Matthew Rowley said...

Hey Sam ~

Glad you liked it. Some would balk at the addition of juniper, but I think it makes the dish. It had not occurred to me to go sniffing the empty plate, however. Reminds me of the only time I've ever licked the plate in public; A caramel cake from Ann Cashion who'd made it for a Southern Foodways Alliance dinner n Mississippi. Seems I may have that recipe around here, too, somewhere…

Matthew Rowley said...
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