Transform your regular cabbage into a savory delight with crispy bacon bits. Perfect for New Year’s or St. Patty’s Day celebrations, this pan-fried cabbage dish is a must-try for anyone looking to elevate their side dish game.
Dive into a delectable pan-fried cabbage dish, enriched with crispy bacon bits. Perfect as a savory side for festive occasions, this step-by-step recipe ensures a flavorful result.
- 4 ounces (about 5 thick-cut strips) of bacon
- 1 small white or sweet onion, finely diced
- 1 large head of cabbage (2.5 to 3 pounds), shredded (roughly 10 cups)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- Prepare the Bacon: Start by cutting the bacon slices in half lengthwise. Then, cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces, roughly half an inch thick. Place these bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat. Ensure they are spread out in a single layer.
- Cook the Bacon: Fry the bacon for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are crispy and fully cooked. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon bits onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. This method helps to reserve the bacon grease in the skillet.
- Prep the Cabbage: While the bacon cooks, start preparing the cabbage. Remove its outermost layer and any damaged leaves. Rinse the head briefly to clear any dirt. Trim off the stem end and halve the cabbage. Quarter each half and then remove the core. Finally, thinly slice each quarter into pieces about ¼ inch thick and 3 inches long.
- Saute the Onions: In the same skillet with reserved bacon grease, add the diced onions. Saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add Garlic and Butter: Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add in the butter.
- Cook the Cabbage: Begin by adding half of the shredded cabbage to the skillet, ensuring it’s mixed well with the onions and garlic. After about 2-3 minutes, as the cabbage starts to wilt, add in the remaining half. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix everything well.
- Final Cooking: Continue to cook the cabbage for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you wish to caramelize the cabbage slightly, increase the heat to medium-high during the last few minutes. Monitor closely to prevent burning.
- Add the Bacon: Once the cabbage is tender, mix in the previously prepared crispy bacon. Heat for a minute or two to warm up the bacon.
- Serve: Transfer the pan-fried cabbage and bacon to a serving dish. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips and Variations:
- Cabbage Selection: Opt for a fresh, firm cabbage. If the leaves look limp or have dark spots, it’s best to avoid them. Fresh cabbage ensures the best texture and flavor.
- Bacon Varieties: Feel free to use any variety of bacon you prefer – smoked, unsmoked, or even turkey bacon for a leaner option.
- Additional Flavors: Enhance the dish by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar or white wine for an acidic touch. Some fresh herbs like dill or parsley can also elevate the flavors.
- Vegan Variation: Omit the bacon and use olive oil or vegan butter to sauté the onions and cabbage. For the smoky flavor reminiscent of bacon, sprinkle in a bit of smoked paprika.
- Storage: This dish is best served immediately. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat on the stovetop for the best texture.
Pan-fried cabbage with crispy bacon pairs well with a variety of dishes. Consider serving it alongside:
- Roast chicken or turkey.
- Grilled sausages or bratwurst.
- A hearty beef or vegetable stew.
- Mashed potatoes or colcannon for a truly hearty meal.
This pan-fried cabbage with crispy bacon is not just another cabbage dish. It’s a celebration of flavors and textures, combining the tenderness of sautéed cabbage with the crunchy goodness of bacon. It’s simple yet impressive, making it perfect for both everyday meals and special occasions.