In southern Louisiana, we like to smother things. My mother says that growing up, she never had a crunchy vegetable. Green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, okra, eggplant, you name it, it was cooked till soft and mushy. Now when she’s making maque choux, she cuts the fresh corn off the cob and barely introduces it to the heat and calls it done. I’m really not sure what my grandmother would think. We all think it’s very tasty.
My maternal grandmother has been mentioned on these “pages” before. She was a woman who had it all, before we even knew what that looked like. She ran her own business with my grandfather, raised three girls, kept a tidy house and cooked a full meal for dinner (what she called the midday meal) every day of the week, with an extra full menu on Sunday. Their major appliance store was on Center St. in a small town and their house was right behind it. She’d nip away to get dinner started and leave a pot roast or round steak, smothered with onions, simmering on the stove while she attended to customers and answered the phones. She and my grandfather would close the store for dinner and open again after they had eaten and they had watched their stories, which is what they called the soap operas. The characters on The Guiding Light and As the World Turns were part of daily life and their adventures were discussed as if they were neighbors. They had been watching those characters live their lives for almost 20 years so by the mid-1970s, when I started eavesdropping, the conversations were candid and, frankly, a little bit alarming. John Dixon’s wife Kim wants to divorce him! He forced himself on her. Is it rape since he’s still her husband? This was pretty radical stuff for daytime television. Even my grandfather was hooked. If I sat quietly on the periphery, the grownups never even noticed me there, with my wide eyes and bigger ears.
Anyway, the point of all this is that dishes that could simmer, covered, were easy favorites for a woman trying to run a store, cook a meal, and keep up with her stories, and this cabbage with pork was no exception. It’s still one of our favorite dishes so, when I make it, I make a BIG pot. We can eat this for days!
This week’s Sunday Supper theme is Eat Your Greens in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Our host with the most is DB from Crazy Foodie Stunts and we have a great round up of green dishes and drinks for you. Make sure to scroll on down for the link list.
Ingredients - for six to eight servings
4 thick pork chops, bone in (Approximate weight 2 lb 10 oz or 1200g)
White vinegar (just a few tablespoons)
Sea salt flakes
Monosodium glutamate (optional) – my grandmother used something called Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. But I use MSG since none of us have a sensitivity to it.
2 heads cabbage – I used one normal cabbage and one Savoy – total weight 7 3/4 bs or 3500g
1- 3 small red chilies – This is my addition. My grandmother would have seasoned this dish with cayenne and black pepper so if I don’t have fresh hot chilies, I do that instead.
2 large onions (Approximate weight 1 lb or 500g)
11 1/4 oz or 320g smoked slab bacon
Cut the bone off the pork chops, leaving a little meat for those who like to chew the bones, by which I mean me. Cut the meat into small chunks and sprinkle the bones and chunks with some plain white vinegar. (I keep one bottle with a lid that has holes cut into it for easy sprinkling.)
|The vinegar helps tenderize the meat as it marinates.|
Cut the bacon into similarly sized chunks.
Core your cabbage and then slice it into thin pieces. Set aside a couple of handfuls of the very greenest pieces for adding to the pot right at the end. Smothered cabbage may taste delicious but it’s not the prettiest dish. Adding some bright green at the end helps with this.
Peel and slice your onions thinly. Split the red chilies down the middle then mince them finely.
In a big pot, big enough to hold all your ingredients, and that has a tightly fitting lid, heat a good drizzle of olive oil and start to pan fry the pork, including the bacon, a few pieces at a time.
Once all the pork is browned, you should have some lovely sticky stuff left in the bottom of the pot too. Add another drizzle of olive oil then the sliced onions and chilies.
Pop the lid on and let the onions sweat for a few minutes. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape all the delicious brown bits off the pot.
When the onions are translucent, add the pork back into the pot, making sure to scrape in any juice that pooled in the bottom of your plate.
Right here I need to tell that my grandmother would have cut the cabbage into larger pieces and put it all in at once and cooked till it was smothered down and completely soft. So feel free to use her method if that appeals to you. I add mine in a bit at a time so that when the pork is cooked and tender, there is cabbage of varying degrees of doneness in the one pot, all the way from melted into almost nothing to still just a bit crunchy.
So here it goes, my way. Add about one third of the cabbage to the pot and put the lid back on. No need to stir yet. Simmer over a medium low heat until the cabbage is wilted and soft, about 20-25 minutes.
Remove the lid and give the whole thing a good stir. Add in another third of the cabbage and put the lid back on. Simmer for another 20-25 minutes before removing the lid and stirring the pot. The second batch of cabbage should be wilted now too.
Finally, add in all but the couple of handfuls of the greenest cabbage leaves and put the lid back on again. Simmer, covered, for another 20-25 minutes.
Stir the pot and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Finally, add in the last green handfuls of cabbage and stir. Cook for just a few more minutes until those greens are slightly wilted but still a little crunchy.
|These were the outer leaves of the Savoy cabbage. I saved them because they are a much brighter green than the normal cabbage.|
Eat Your Greens this week! Now you have no excuse not to!
Green Light Appetizers and Sides
- Espinacas con Crema (Creamed Spinach) from La Cocina de Leslie
- Steakhouse Style Creamed Spinach from It's Yummi!
- Oven-Fried Green Beans from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Irish Champ from girlichef
- Fresh Herb Tabouleh from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
- Moroccan Greens from Cooking On The Ranch
- Broccoli and Cheese Soup from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes from MealDiva
- Spinach and Artichoke Squares from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Green Rice from Basic N Delicious
- Broccoli and Blue Cheese Tarts from Mess Makes Food
- Avocado Fries from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Spinach Cashew Pakoras with Tangy Date Sauce from Sue's Nutrition Buzz
- Garlicky Italian Green Beans and Potatoes from Webicurean
- Pixie Dust Salad with Avocados, Pixie Tangerines and Radishes from Shockingly Delicious
- Roasted Broccoli Spinach Salad from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Apple, Spinach and Zucchini Salad from Hip Foodie Mom
- Brussels Sprouts Slaw from Hot Momma's Kitchen Chaos
- Asparagus-Fennel-Pea Shoot Salad from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing from The Foodie Army Wife
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Salad from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Eggs and Greens Pizza from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
- Creamy Green Pizza from The Foodie Patootie
- Shamrock Spinach Crepes from Curious Cuisiniere
- Healthy Green Pasta from Momma's Meals
- Swiss Chard & Sausage Pasta Bake from Delaware Girl Eats
- Smothered Cabbage with Pork from Food Lust People Love
- Spinach Fettuccine with Bacon Alfredo from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Roasted Asparagus Eggs Benedict With Cajun Hollandaise from Having Fun Saving
- Indulgent Pesto Risotto from The Weekend Gourmet
- Twice Baked Turkey Pie with Cabbage from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Slow-Cooker Irish Stout Chicken Stew from FoodieTots
- Chicken and Asparagus Flatbread Pizza from Family Foodie
- Lemon Kiwi Meringue Pie from Desserts Required
- Mint Cookies and Stout Shake from Melanie Makes
- Verde Sangria from Country Girl in the Village
- Baileys Mint Ice Cream & Chocolate Stout Float from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Shamrock Cookies from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Green Tea Latte from Manu's Menu
- Grasshopper Mousse from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Amazing Grass Brownies from Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Leprechaun Ice Cream from Cookistry
- White Chocolate Cupcakes with Pistachio Pudding Frosting from Cookin' Mimi
- Collard Greens, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bread Pudding from The Texan New Yorker
- Coconut Avocado Ice Cream from URBAN BAKES
- Lime Meltaways from Pies and Plots
- Chocolate Mint Cake from NinjaBaking.com