Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Bacon

by Sheila Connolly (or Sile ni Conghaile this week)

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which has been celebrated since the ninth century, so I figured I should find an Irish recipe to celebrate. Thing is, my family didn’t cook “Irish.” Mostly we ate all-American meat and starch and veg, with the occasional lamb stew.

I have made corned beef and cabbage maybe once in my life, just to find out what it was all about. It’s not hard to make, but I prefer my corned beef in a Reuben sandwich. We do eat Shepherd’s Pie at my house (with ground lamb) and lamb stew, but lamb is hard to get around here and expensive even when it is available.

What’s a cook to do? Once again I turned to The Irish Pub Cookbook, where there are still plenty of sticky-tabs marking recipes I want to try. That’s where this recipe came from, although I made a few changes. It’s a side dish rather than a main course, but would go well with a nice leg of lamb. Or a pork roast, if you’re not Irish (sorry to hear that!). It’s tangy with a little sweetness, and it’s colorful.

Sorry, I couldn't resist--cabbage looks so interesting
in cross-section


1/2 large head of red cabbage (or a whole small head)
[Note: I weighed my cabbage—it was four pounds, and about the size of a bowling ball. Half of that would be two pounds. Two pounds of cabbage made enough of this dish to serve an army, and my vintage wok was the only pan I had that would hold it all. If you aren’t expecting hordes of people, you can easily cut this recipe in half.]

2 Tblsp vegetable oil

3 thick bacon strips, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp thyme leaves
2-1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped (my market didn’t have cremini, so I used portobello mushrooms instead)
grated zest of one lemon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tblsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
pat of butter

Quarter the cabbage lengthwise, discard the core, and slice widthwise to make ribbons. (Narrow ribbons will cook more quickly, but it’s not always easy to slice cabbage thinly.)

Heat the oil in a casserole or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for 5 minutes, until crisp.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and the thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Add the mushrooms and sliced cabbage to the pan, then cook for another 5 minutes, until the cabbage starts to soften.

Stir in the lemon zest, salt, pepper, and sugar and cover for three minutes. Pour in the vinegar and the stock, cover again, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the cabbage is tender (keep tasting to see if it’s done).

Just a bit of green!

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the parsley and the pat of butter just before serving.

And raise a glass to St. Patrick!

Sure and there's still An Early Wake, the new County Cork book--only a month old, it is.

And if you're in the mood for something Irish but a bit shorter, there's the e-story Under the Hill--still free for Kindle and Nook!


  1. Love red cabbage--and you're right, it's beautiful. Happy St. Patty's day!

  2. That looks very good! Cooked cabbage is tasty by itself but this looks delicious. Your Irish Pub cookbook sounds really fun!

  3. Lovely post, Sheila. You can't go wrong with bacon and cabbage. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, and to everyone here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen.

    ~ Cleo

  4. This is a fascinating recipe. I never considered cooking cabbage with mushrooms. Don't know why not. Bacon would be lovely with cabbage, so it sounds like a winner to me. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

  5. I really like the combination of cabbage and bacon (although keep in mind that Irish bacon isn't quite like ours, maybe closer to thin ham), plus that little dash of sweet-and-sour, which makes it interesting.

    The cookbook is definitely a winner--a great mix of traditional and new. But keep in mind the recipes make enough for a crowd!

  6. I love red cabbage and this is a great twist on it. Hope you had an excellent St. Patrick's Day, Sheila.



  7. You realize, I assume, that comments are not all appearing here?
    I posted yesterday and it isn't here.