Boiled Bacon with Cabbage: A Letter from Ireland

With writing commissions come in, in a record number, maintaining a blog can be a challenge, to keep the flow of recipes there is only one solution : call a friend.

 To help me out, I asked a few people whom I knew would come up with a tried and tested recipe and a good story. Pebble Soup's first guest this autumn is Philomena Bunce. Phil moved to Ireland 9 years ago. She works magic with a thread and a needle and though she will deny it, is equally good with a wooden spoon and a a few kitchen gadgets. So without further ado here is her letter from Ireland.
 "When I moved to Ireland, one of the things that struck me in the supermarkets were the large amount of bacon joints of all sizes that were on offer. I subsequently learnt that bacon and cabbage was a staple food and cooked most weeks in Irish homes.
The following recipe is courtesy of Tamsin Day-Lewis in her wonderful book "West of Ireland Summers" in which she describes her memories of a childhood in county Mayo along with some great recipes.
I needed some Irish reaction to this effort of mine so invited my son Colin with his Irish wife Sheila and her mother Biddy."
Their verdict: "Satisfied customers!"

Boiled Bacon with Cabbage. 
Serves 8
4-5lbs unsmoked collar of bacon without the rind.
A selection of veg ( eg 3 onions. 6 carrots. 2 leeks, 3-4 sticks celery)
a bunch of herbs tied in a bundle,
3-4 pts  chicken stock or water,
1 large green cabbage chopped and cored.
Soak the bacon for 24 hours changing the water several times.
Put soaked bacon and veg, herbs and stock in a large casserole, bring to the boil, skim if necessary, turn the heat down keep it simmering at a mere bubble with the lid on for about 30 mins.

Add the cabbage and simmer for a further 1 hour. ( you are not looking for al dente cabbage but completely soft and having absorbed all the flavours) turn off the heat and allow the meat to settle for 20mins.
Remove from the heat and keep warm covered with foil or cloth.

Using a slotted spoon lift out the cabbage. Lay a bed of cabbage on the plate put a couple of thick slices of bacon on top and serve the cooking liquor in a jug.
To complete the meal serve some good mustard and some Champ.
Champ is a kind of potato
Champ recipe: Floury potatoes, creamy milk,butter, finely chopped spring onions. (quantities according to servings!)
Simmer the potatoes until tender, drain off the water, cover the pan and let sit while you heat the butter and milk to boiling. Add the spring onions turn off the heat and let infuse. Mash the potatoes then add the milk mixture stirring until smooth. Season to taste and serve,
I would like to Thank Philomena Bunce for her guest post. The ingredients in this recipe are Simple and in Season perfect for Fabulicious Food's event hosted in September by Katie Bryson at Feeding Boys and a Fire Fighter 



Ren Behan said...

A lovely idea to have a guest post and the 'Letter from Ireland' is very special. Thank you to Phil for sending across this post and for sharing a nice story - two recipes really! Boiled bacon with cabbage and the champ! X

Katie said...

What a lovely guest post - and really interesting to learn about other country's eating habits :-) I really love cabbage... this looks delicious. Thanks for linking up!

Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

I think Phil did a marvellous job too. I hope to get another Irish recipe from her at some stage.
Next we will go to America with a known travel writer to see what she made of food there

Thanks for dropping by



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