SIMMERED PORK AND CABBAGE
The original name for this family recipe has bothered me for years: Boiled Dinner. Now you tell me, would you stop scrolling to see what THAT was or would you blithely move along to find another recipe?
But wait, don’t go yet–read on so you know why I posted this recipe. My mother-in-law served this when we would travel across the state to see Allen’s family. I think she liked the fact that it could simmer along on the stove top without fear of drying out. And it was always, always satisfyingly delicious! Even if we were delayed by icy roads, Boiled Dinner would be ready and waiting upon our arrival.
In fact, I remember eating this when we came over to surprise Allen’s parents with the news of our first pregnancy. This was in the days before at-home pregnancy tests, so I was just barely 3 months pregnant. We were so excited to share the news. Because it was my first pregnancy, I didn’t realize how morning sickness could turn into all-night sickness after eating something that tasted SO DARN GOOD! Allen kept bringing me water, ice chunks and even went out for Vernor’s ginger ale in his effort to keep me hydrated.
OLD WORLD GOODNESS
But once I recovered, I remembered how much I liked it and I couldn’t resist the urge to make this comforting stew myself. It has remained a family favorite for over 40 years. Be forewarned: when this simmers on the stove for a couple of hours, you and anyone in the house will salivate and keep repeating, “That smells so good!” throughout the day.
In fact, I had a friend stop by recently on the afternoon when I had this pork dish simmering along in the kitchen. In accordance with the now-normal “abundance of caution” we sat outside with jackets on in the sunshine. I excused myself to go check on the food. When I came back out, friend Mary Jo said, “Oh my gosh! What are you cooking in there that smells so good?!” The aroma wafted out the door, into the yard and had both of us wishing it were time to eat then and there.
Another thing to like about this recipe, is that you don’t have to cut everything into little pieces like you do for a stew. Big chunks are all that is needed, because everything has time to slowly simmer along together.
My sister-in-law and I compared notes on this Kornow Family Favorite about a year ago. Unbeknownst to either of us, we had started making the same changes to the recipe. The original recipe just put everything in the pot with water and let it simmer along for a few hours. We realized that we both had started searing the meat and deglazing with a bit of dry white wine prior to the stove top simmer.
I have also started adding some dried thyme, but the recipe is essentially true to what I ate 42 years ago when Allen and I announced that another Kornow would be coming into the world soon. I cherish that memory.
When you add the cabbage near the end of the cooking time, it will may look like your pot is too full and there is no way all of it will fit in. In that case, add about half of the cabbage, put the lid on, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then you can push the cabbage into the stew and add the rest of the cabbage to complete the process.
SIMMERED PORK AND CABBAGE (AKA: Boiled Pork Dinner)
- 2 pounds pork sirloin, or pork roast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into fourths
- 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into fourths
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 medium head of cabbage, cored and cut into thick slices
Cut pork into 2 or 3 large chunks and trim extra fat if needed. In large stock pot, sauté pork in olive oil until browned on all sides. Quickly stir in the minced garlic.
Nudge pork over to one side and deglaze pan with white wine, stirring to bring up browned bits.
Add all other ingredients except cabbage. Bring to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer about 2 hours or until pork and vegetables are soft. This is a good dish to make on cold winter days; the pork can simmer along on very low heat for many hours if you’d like to hold it longer.
About 15-30 minutes prior to serving, cut cabbage into thick shreds; stir into pot. (If it looks like too much, add half now and stir in more after first addition starts to wilt.) Bring to a boil and cook until cabbage wilts and is soft.
This makes a soupy roast, not a thickened gravy. Serve in large bowls with good bread to sop up the au jus. It is even better the second day.
This can be made in a crock pot but needs to be adjusted: use less broth (only a cup or two); the cabbage about an hour before finishing. You can skip the browning, but the flavor is not as good.