Traditional Irish bacon, cabbage and parsley sauce

Darina recipe traditional irish bacon

Serves 12–15

For the Bacon:

about 2.25kg (5lb) loin, collar or streaky bacon, either smoked or unsmoked with the rind on and a nice covering of fat

1 Savoy or 2 spring hispi cabbages, cut into thin shreds

50g (2oz) salted butter

freshly ground black pepper

Parsley Sauce (see recipe)

For the Parsley sauce:

600ml (1 pint) full-cream milk

a few parsley stalks

sprig of thyme

a few slices of carrot (optional)

a few slices of onion (optional)

50g (2oz) roux (see recipe)

about 50g (2oz) chopped curly parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Roux:

110g (4oz) salted butter

110g (4oz) plain flour or 50g (2oz) cornflour and 50g (2oz) rice flour,

for a gluten-free roux

  1. Cover the bacon in cold water in a large pan and bring slowly to the boil. If the bacon is very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water, in which case discard the water and start again. Cover with hot water and the lid of the pan and simmer until almost cooked, allowing 25 minutes for every 450g.
  2. About 20 minutes before the end of cooking the bacon, add the shredded cabbage to the water in which the bacon is boiling. Stir, cover and continue to boil gently until both the cabbage and bacon are cooked – about 1¾ hours in total.
  3. For the roux, melt the butter and cook the flour (or cornflour and rice flour) in it for two minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Roux can be stored in a cool place and used as required or it can be made up on the spot. It will keep for at least two weeks in the fridge.
  4. To make the parsley sauce, put the cold milk into a saucepan and add the herbs and vegetables (if using). Bring the mixture to simmering point, season and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Strain the milk, bring it back to the boil and whisk in 50g of the roux until the sauce is a light coating consistency. Season again with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the chopped parsley and simmer on a very low heat for 4–5 minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Lift the bacon onto a plate and remove the rind if you like. When the bacon is fully cooked it will peel off easily. Strain the cabbage and discard the water (or, if it’s not too salty, save it for a tomato soup). Add a generous lump of butter to the cabbage. Season with lots of ground pepper. Serve the bacon with the cabbage, parsley sauce and floury potatoes.

Darina’s tip: You may want to double the sauce recipe if you love parsley sauce as much as I do!

Per Serving 537kcals, 46.2g fat (2.6g saturated), 4.9g carbs (1.6g sugars), 22.2g protein, 1.7g fibre, 0.057g sodium

For more family friendly recipes click here.