Sunday, January 08, 2017

Smothered Cabbage, Louisiana Style

Contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food is our local conduit for all things from New Orleans. With a kid (and now grandchildren) in the Big Easy, he's got an even better reason than food to spend lots of time there. As long as he keeps bringing back (and sharing) his recipes, I'm all for it!

There are lots of foods different cultures eat for good luck in the new year, including greens of some kind (some say it's because money is green). According to Gulf Coast chef John Folse, in Louisiana they'll be eating smothered cabbage on New Year's Day. But this old school recipe is so good you'll want to eat it all year.

Smothered Cabbage

Folse's recipe calls for andouille, the deeply smoked sausage of Cajun country, but it's hard to find the good stuff here in the northwest. You can order it from Jacob's or check with with the butcher shop at Laurelhurst Market [or Old Salt Marketplace], but you can smother cabbage with just bacon if you can't wait.

Start by cooking a quarter pound or so of chopped bacon in a little olive oil (if you've got andouille, cut it into bite-sized pieces and cook it with the bacon until brown). When it's browned, add a chopped onion, about half as much chopped celery, and a small green bell pepper, also chopped. While those are cooking, chop a couple of cloves of garlic and a tablespoon or so of fresh thyme; toss them in, along with salt, black pepper, and a half head of green cabbage cut into 2 inch pieces.

When the cabbage has wilted a little, add a quarter cup of water, cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 25 minutes. As Folse notes in his recipe, it might seem overcooked, but that's they way they like in Louisiana. Everybody I've served this to feels the same way.

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