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Ham and Cabbage

Ham and Cabbage and Potatoes

Ham and Cabbage. It may be my most curious immigrant recipe of past. Or maybe not.

head of cabbage

Ham and cabbage may also be one of those that they call non-recipe recipes. I mean what’s to it besides essential simmering? You can even cook the potatoes in the same pot as the ham and cabbage. The only reason I steam the potatoes separately in this dish is that I’m not so fond of overcooked mushy potatoes. 

I prepared this post for St. Patrick’s Day because Ham and Cabbage was a common St. Patrick’s Day dish in my family when I was younger. I’m not sure the common Irish salmon staple was even invented in America yet. And when I was growing up, the then younger World War II veterans like my Uncle Mike refused the mere suggestion of lamb.

And then, and this is where my cultural ancestry puzzle with St. Patrick’s Day food begins, it surrounds the Corned Beef. Hm.

I’m finally admitting it. I never heard of Corned Beef being served on St. Patrick’s Day until adulthood. Really.

Corned Beef in my family was one thing: a Corned Beef Special. What you got at the Jewish Deli after Sunday mass. Thinly sliced and thickly stacked Corn Beef on Rye with cheese, Russian Dressing, and Jewish pickles on the side. 

Irish Blessing

My Grandmother from Ireland on my father’s side owned and ran the butcher/grocery shop beneath their family home in Philadelphia. I can only assume this provided easy access to a juicy ham butt or two or three or more with 6 kids plus any hungry neighbor kids and others. She kindly and generously fed many and frequently, including during the depression. This is among the few certainties shared by lots of others over the years of which I know and hold dear.

So Ham and Cabbage is kind of like my own version of eating moussaka when the other kids were eating their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

Either way, Ham and Cabbage is as easy to prepare as it gets with its own nutritional benefits and now  whenever I prepare it, around St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, I cannot help but wonder on its tradition in my own family and how and if and why it somehow fits into my own Irish family immigrant recipe of the past.  

Ham and Cabbage

Yield: 4

Ham and Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 2-3 pound pork butt
  • 1 large head cabbage, cored, quartered
  • 5 red potatoes, cut into thick wedges
  • few pinches coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • few grinds cracked black pepper, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove paper casing from ham butt. Cut butt in half across the center.
  2. Set ham pieces into a large lidded pot then pour in 5 cups water.
  3. Simmer ham on medium low heat around 35 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, using a vegetable steamer in another pan, steam potato wedges until just a bit less than fully cooked.
  5. After ham has simmered, pile in the cabbage quarters pushing down the leaves. Secure lid onto pot and simmer another 35 minutes.
  6. Remove the ham butts, cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Add potatoes to the cabbage pot and simmer around fifteen minutes until potatoes are tender and have absorbed some of the ham and cabbage broth flavors.
  8. Slice ham into one-inch thick pieces then cut pieces in half.
  9. Return ham pieces back to the pot for five minutes, sprinkle in salt and pepper, check seasoning and adjust to taste.
  10. Evenly plate ingredients into individual bowls pouring some hot broth into each, sprinkle each dish with a little added salt and pepper on top for added flavoring.

Notes

Remaining broth from ham and cabbage may be strained and used as soup broth.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted April 26, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I grew up with this. We did have corned beef and cabbage, but more often than not, it was a boiled dinner with ham…one of my favorite things. 🙂
    Kelly recently posted…Lovely Reads #5My Profile

    • Posted April 26, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly! Wow, I feel like I have we have a special connection- it seems everyone in the US is eating Corned Beef and Cabbage, every St. Patrick’s Day. I do enjoy ham and cabbage now and again as well, it is simple to prepare and is just nice and plain. I also like using the leftover broth as a soup base. Hope you are feeling much improved now with good progress in the pt area. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs.

  2. Posted April 26, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    How lovely! I love the ‘Good Luck Blessing’ from your Irish root. -Jolma
    Jolma Ren recently posted…How Tibetans Celebrate Losar–New Year?My Profile

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.