Saturday, January 01, 2011

Home Cooking: Boil That Cabbage Down

It’s January 1st, and if you don’t have some cabbage in the house, then you’ve jinxed yourself for 2011. It’s an old German tradition to cook cabbage before noon on the first day of the new year to bring good luck to you and your family. Failure to do so, well. . . you’re just tough out of luck!

This is a tradition I grew up with in my family, something my mother carried on from my Grandma Heffner. Boiled cabbage is perhaps the easiest recipe on the face of the earth, and the resulting dish is much better than you might ever believe. Even my husband has to have a bowl of the savory stuff once the cooking is done.

Boiled Cabbage
1 head cabbage (I prefer the darker green outside leaves)
4 slices bacon

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Be sure to include some salt to prevent the water from boiling over.

Chop the head of cabbage, including the heart, into large chunks. Drop these pieces into the water, making sure you have enough water to cover the cabbage. Add a tablespoon of butter, then let the cabbage boil until tender.

If you like the flavor of bacon, then add it at anytime to the boiling cabbage. You may choose to add the strips directly from the package or to lightly pan fry before adding to the cabbage. You may also decide if you prefer the bacon in long strips, half strips, or cut into bite-sized pieces.

When the cabbage is so tender than it falls apart on your fork, it’s ready to serve. Salt to taste. I often eat a slice of buttered bread to go with mine. Be sure to drink the leftover soup as well.

The only problem with boiled cabbage? The smell it leaves behind, but for someone of German ancestry like me, it’s an odor I’ve come to love. And the thought of good luck for the coming year doesn’t hurt either.

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