The Irish Connection
Bacon mash and cabbage has always been the meal of choice for “a taste of home” for people of Irish descent. This is the most popular meal on St Patrick’s day in Ireland.
Both of my wife parents are Irish so I have a lot of experience with bacon and cabbage.
This recipe closely resembles my mother-in-law’s, except she would only boil the bacon with no roasting.
She would also save the water the cabbage was cooked in for my father-in-law to drink. He believed that “Mammy’s cabbage water” was good for his health. Perhaps it was?
Modern research shows the water to be rich in vitamins and deoxidants, good for the immune system and hangovers.
He did enjoy a pint of Guinness or three, so I can see why he liked it!
Sauce with Bacon Mash and Cabbage?
The mother-in-law would never have allowed it but I like this meal with the parsley or “Shamrock” sauce as it is sometimes called.
Make sure you use the saved cooking water from the bacon. It makes all the difference!
Irish Bacon Mash and Cabbage
- 1½ kg Shoulder of bacon
- 1 Carrot peeled and chopped
- 2 Celery stalks peeled and chopped
- 2 Onions peeled and halved
- 1 tsp Peppercorns
- Cloves to stud
- 1 kg Potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 kg Green Cabbage finely sliced
- Knob of butter
- 2 Bay leaves
For the sauce:
- 30 g Butter
- 30 g Plain flour
- 80 ml Bacon cooking liquid
- 1 tbsp Wholegrain mustard
- 170 ml Cream
- 3 tbsp Fresh parsley finely chopped
- Place the bacon in a large pot. Add the carrot, celery and peppercorns. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Remove the bacon from the pot, reserving its cooking liquid. Remove the rind and score the fat in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to cut through to the meat.
- Place the bacon in a roasting dish. Stud with the cloves and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Cover the potatoes in salted cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain well and allow to steam dry in the pan for one minute.
- For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes. Gradually whisk in the cooking liquid, mustard and cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season to taste and add the parsley, then keep warm.
- Place the cabbage in a saucepan and barely cover with some of the reserved cooking liquid. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain well and toss in the butter. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper.
- Slice the bacon and serve with the cabbage, boiled potatoes and mustard and parsley sauce.
Try one of these recipes from my cookbook …
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