I have a cookery book I really love. It’s called The Country Cooking of Ireland, by Coleman Andrews and it’s a real winner. I have always felt that if you want to get a real sense of what a country is like, you will embrace the food of that country . . . and to do that you really need to get into the thick of the countryside. Let me tell you . . . the Irish countryside is a very delicious place! Especially if this recipe is a fair representation of that, and I believe it is. I thought it would be very fitting to share this with you as this week we will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day, and since discovering this past year that 27% of my DNA is Irish, what better reason to celebrate!
I have a friend Jo, who has very deep Irish roots and she has always gone on about Irish Bacon and Cabbage, so when I saw this recipe it was one of the first ones which I wanted to cook. Jo always made it sound so delicious.
There is nothing out of the ordinary here . . . it’s just simple imgredients . . . cured pork, a few vegetables, water . . . pepper. Cabbage.
Simple ingredients put together in a simple way with extraordinarily delicious results! I made a mustard sauce to serve with it, and boiled new potatoes . . . but a parsley sauce is just as delicious. I do hope you will give it a go.
Serves 4 to 6
My friend Jo used to go on about her nan’s bacon and cabbage. Now I know why.
1.5 kg cured pork loin (3 pounds)
(In one piece)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped
2 leeks, chopped (white parts only)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS fresh bread crumbs
(Dry in the oven for 30 minutes at 120*C/250*F)
1 1/2 tsp soft light brown sugar
2 TBS butter, softened
1 kg( 2 pounds) white cabbage, finely shredded
mustard or parsley sauce (See below)
boiled new potatoes
Put the pork into a large pot along with the carrot, celery, leeks and peppercorns. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/gas mark 6. Remove the pork from the pot to a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Strain and reserve the pot liquer.
Cut the rind off the pork and discard. Score the fat all over with a sharp knife. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, bread crumbs, brown sugar and 1 TBS of the butter. Mix together well. Spread over the top and sides of the pork loin and then roast in the heated oven for 20 minutes, til glazed and golden.
While the pork is roasting put the cabbage into a saucepan just large enough to hold it all. Add reserved cooking liquid to cover. You may need to add a bit of water, which is okay. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer until the cabbage is cooked through, but retaining some crispness. (This should take about 6 minutes.) Drain well and toss in a bowl along with the remaining TBS of butter. Season to taste with salt.
Place the cabbage onto a large platter. Slice the pork into 1/2 inch thick slices and lay on top of the cabbage. Serve with mustard or parsley sauce and boiled new potatoes on the side.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 small onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves
1 small bay leaf
225ml (1 cup) heavy cream
2 TBS butter
2 TBS plain flour
1 TBS Dijon or English Mustard
Put the onion and bay leaf into a small saucepan. Add the cream and bring to the boil over medium heat. Set aside to infuse for 15 to 20 minutes. Using a clean saucepan, melt the butter in the pan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly strain the cream into the mixture and whisk well. Cook, stirring constantly for another minute or so. Whisk in the mustard. Keep warm.
To make a Parsley sauce: Make the sauce as above, except leaving out the mustard. Whisk in 225ml of chicken, ham or vegetable stock and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in a handful of chopped fresh parsley (20g/1/2 cup) and serve immediately.
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