Why It Works
- This dish combines humble, inexpensive ingredients to create a warm and cozy casserole.
- Cooking the cabbage, onions, and garlic in the rendered bacon fat creates more bacon flavor in the dish.
- Apple cider vinegar and parsley add some bright and fresh notes.
Ever since I was a little kid, there have been a few kitchen aromas that I've found absolutely irresistible: melting butter, turning browned and nutty in the pan; bright, freshly-grated lemon zest; and dark black coffee—long before I had the urge to actually drink it. But as of today, a new favorite tops my list: cabbage cooking down in bacon fat.
When Kenji told the recipe team that you, dear reader (hello!) have been poking around on the site for both cabbage and potato recipes, I decided to come up with something that not only united the two but also added—and why not?—some bacon for good measure. Googling around a bit, I found out that baked cabbage-potato-bacon casserole is a popular dish in most Eastern European countries, where it goes by various names depending on its exact geographic origin. The dish immediately appealed to me: Polish by blood, I've always loved the rich, hearty, simple meals common to the region (though, doubtless, my Jewish ancestors would frown upon my use of bacon in this recipe).
The preparation couldn't be easier: You crisp some bacon bits, fish 'em out, then cook down a whole mess of shredded cabbage and chopped onion in the smoky lard the bacon has left behind. You stop and savor the aroma; then, when you're good and ready, you mix in some parboiled potatoes, some cream for (more) richness, and some fresh parsley to help cut through that richness. Pack the mixture into a casserole dish, top with some mild grated cheese, and 40 minutes later you'll tuck into a browned, bubbling, soul-satisfying winner of a winter dish that will bring you some warmth on these cold nights.
3 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slices (about 4 ounces) thick-cut bacon, diced
1 small but heavy head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered, cored, and sliced into ribbons
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup grated mild white cheese, such as edam or gouda
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Add potatoes to a medium pot, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and cover with water. Set pot over high heat and bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer. Cook potatoes until they are firm-tender, about 7 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.
Add bacon to a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until bacon has rendered most of its fat, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
If bacon has rendered more than 3 tablespoons of fat, drain fat, reserving 3 tablespoons. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add cabbage, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until vegetables have wilted and begun to brown, about 15 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and deglaze pan, stirring rapidly and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add potatoes to cabbage mixture and stir to combine. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper, then add reserved bacon, parsley, half-and-half, and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.
Lightly coat the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add cabbage mixture and press firmly and evenly into pan. Top casserole with an even layer of grated cheese, then cover pan with a sheet of tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake until casserole is bubbling and cheese has browned, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, let rest for 10 minutes, and serve.
9-inch by 13-inch baking dish
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||15%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||25%|
|Total Carbohydrate 38g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 6g||21%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 71mg||354%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|