Irish Bacon and Cabbage
The word "bacon" in the Irish kitchen refers to any piece of pork that isn't the leg (ham). This version is made like a stew, with smoked shoulder and fresh pork chops. It is chilled to remove all the fat, then simmered with cabbage and potatoes.
5 tablespoons butter
1 pound smoked pork shoulder
4 fresh pork chops (cut from the loin or shoulder)
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 medium light green or savoy cabbage, cored and cut into thick wedges
4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In a large flameproof casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and brown the smoked pork and pork chops on both sides. Add the onions to the edges of the pan and let them brown for a few minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock, add the bay leaf, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover the pan. Cook the meat over very low heat, turning it often, for 30 minutes.
Remove the meat and onions from the pan and transfer them to a plastic container. Tip the cooking liquid into a bowl. Cover both and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove and discard all the fat and bones from the smoked pork. Cut the meat along its natural lines. Remove excess fat from the pork chops, leaving the chops intact.
Discard the fat from the cooking liquid.
In the flameproof casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the cabbage and potatoes to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover the pan, and cook the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes, turning them gently but often, until they are cooked through. Add cooking liquid if the pan seems dry.
Arrange the smoked meat and pork chops in the pan. Add the liquid and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if you like, and transfer to a large, warm platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Sheryl Julian