Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FRIED CABBAGE (AKA Braised Cabbage)

I remember the tail end of a conversation I had with a friend whose family hailed from the South. "Well, I'm going home to cook dinner." she said. "What are you making?" I asked. "Fried cabbage," she replied, and for a brief moment I envisioned her serving pieces of cabbage dipped in batter and deep fried in hot oil. Just like one would do with chicken, only this time it was cabbage. Didn't sound very appetizing. "How... do you... make that?" I asked. My friend, understanding the extent of my ignorance, probably suspected what I was thinking. "Well, it's not fried, fried, you just cut it up and cook it in a pot with onions, salt and pepper..." "Oh, that sounds good!" I said. She went home to make her fried cabbage dinner.  Next time I saw her, I asked for the recipe.  In my neck of the woods I would call this braised cabbage, but what ever it's called, it's good.
I love it! 
The recipe includes bacon, which I don't usually have on hand.  I am not a bacon fan.  I don't have the delusion that everything tastes better with bacon in it, on it or next to it.  I know the truth, and the truth is that everything tastes better with potato chips in it, on it or next to it.  Ha!  Bet I made you laugh.  Or at the very least made you make a "gross me out" face. But really, don't you hate the way bacon will invariably splatter as it cooks?  Me too.  I hate that. One time I destroyed a perfectly beautiful pink blouse with flying bacon grease which became airborne as I was cooking up some bacon to use in bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches. I don't even like bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches. However, my interest of the heart at the time, a blue eyed burly six footer with a blonde beard that made me sigh, had requested that I make bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches for lunch. That was a request I could not refuse. I suppose I should not have worn my brand new pink blouse while cooking. Such lovely material it was made from, and it had pearly buttons and pleats in the front, as was the fashion back then... But I was talking about cabbage, not ex lovers.  Although, cabbage or ex lovers, what's the difference?  Both get a bad rap. 
Anyway, since I don't usually keep bacon in the refrigerator, I omit it when I make this recipe. Tastes just as good! For this occasion however, I have included the bacon. Bacon included in honor of you, dear reader.
Hey, it's snowing outside!  


1/2 lb of bacon
1/4 cup canola oil
1 head of cabbage, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut the bacon in pieces of about 1-inch in length. Cook it in a skillet over medium heat until it's crisp. What ever you do, don't let it splatter.  Turn off the heat and remove the bacon onto paper towels to drain.  Get rid of the bacon grease.  
  • Chop and core the cabbage, trimming off the tough ends.
  • In a large pot add the canola oil and heat. Add the chopped onions and saute for about two minutes.
  • Add the cabbage, stir and saute until the cabbage starts to soften. Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Toss with the reserved bacon, season to taste with salt and give it a final sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. It's now ready to serve!

Why cabbage is a super vegetable: 
Cabbage is very low in calories - 35 calories per serving (one cup, minus the bacon). Nutritionally, cabbage is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and calcium. It is also high in fiber and it contains nutrients with anti-cancer properties. Cabbage belongs in the family of cruciferous vegetables. Other vegetables in this family, with similar nutritional properties are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts (yuk to the taste of Brussels sprouts, but they look cute), turnips, radishes, canola, potato chips, etc, etc.

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