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Monday, December 5, 2011

Southern Fried Cabbage

Southern fried cabbage is a very simple cabbage dish prepared often as here, with a bit of butter, bacon & onion. I like to add cider vinegar and dried pepper flakes for a little extra flavor punch.
Southern fried cabbage is a very simple cabbage dish prepared often as here, with a bit of butter, bacon & onion. I like to add cider vinegar and dried pepper flakes for a little extra flavor punch.

Southern Fried Cabbage

We southerners know this dish as "fried" cabbage, even though it's actually more of a mixture of skillet sautéing, braising and pan frying, alternating between being fried and cooked low and simmered in its own juices. 

I imagine a lot of folks raised outside of The South associate the words "southern" and "fried" to always mean something that is deep fried in a huge vat of boiling oil, like our fabulous fried chicken, for instance. Surely these people must think we crazy southerners deep fry some odd things - like cabbage and fried corn and fried apples, to name a few.

What they don't realize is that the term often represents different things, and very often, simply the tool used, more so than the actual method or process. In many cases it's referring to the cooking of something in a skillet - or what we call a frying pan - and so, we call the dish "fried." I have a beautiful cast iron, deep chicken fryer that I love using for this. 

I prefer to render out some bacon with my fried cabbage, then cook a bit of onion in that before adding in the cabbage and simple seasonings of salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. 

After that, I let it fry in the drippings for a few minutes, then cover it so it becomes mostly tender, and then uncover it, adding a splash of cider vinegar and red pepper flakes, and letting it finish frying to the desired caramelization. That can vary from person to person.

Since the bacon is used more as a seasoning for me, I only use a few slices, but some folks use as much as a full package, so certainly use as much as you like. I do like to add in some butter too at the end, since it adds a great flavor to the cabbage.

I love this dish so much, that despite the fact that I've purchased a head of cabbage multiple times with the intention of making one particular recipe to post, I keep using it for fried cabbage time and again instead. I love the stuff, so what can I say? 

Another favorite of mine is to add a can of corned beef for what I call Shortcut Corned Beef and Cabbage. Neither The Cajun nor I care a whole lot for a full brisket of corned beef, so that satisfies my craving.

This last head of cabbage was so huge, it was like getting a 2-for-1 deal, so I also used a bit of it to make a wonderful pot of soup during that last blast of cold air that flowed through here a week or so ago. 

While fried cabbage is technically a side dish, frankly I can make it a main dish meal and often do, since The Cajun isn't all that interested in cabbage. I can barely manage to sneak it in on him in soups, but considering that he ate three large bowls of that soup I made, I am grateful that we have at least progressed to that! Here's how to make this delicious southern favorite.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011
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Southern fried cabbage is a very simple cabbage dish prepared often as here, with a bit of butter, bacon & onion. I like to add cider vinegar and dried pepper flakes for a little extra flavor punch.
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