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Irish Bacon and Cabbage Soup


From the archives!

As I am currently a little out-of-commission, I decided to revisit some meals that I have made in the recent past, but haven’t blogged about yet.

This soup is one of them. A few months ago, I got some Irish bacon in my CSA. What is the difference between Irish bacon and regular ol’ streaky bacon? Well, according to Wikipedia — the be-all, end-all arbiter of everything — regular bacon is made from pork belly (which is why it’s so nice and streaked with fat). Irish bacon, on the other hand, is made from center-cut pork loin — which is along the backside of the pig. Because this kind of bacon is not from the belly, it tends to be much leaner. There is usually a narrow band of fat that rings the edge, but each slice is generally more pork than fat. Similar to Canadian bacon, Irish bacon isn’t supposed to get crispy like belly bacon. It still has incredible flavor though, and holds up well to things like thick soups and stews. This recipe, adapted from Epicurious, makes a warm, wonderful, and traditional stick-it-to-your ribs kind of meal. Perfect for the rain and newly arrived cold weather. Ingredients: 1 pound of sliced Irish bacon 3 tablespoons of butter 1 medium onion, chopped 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced 1 quart of chicken stock 2 bay leaves 1/2 of a small head of Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced Salt and pepper Special equipment: 1 hand-held immersion blender How to prepare: 1. Place the bacon in a medium saucepan, and cover it with about two inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is at an even simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Cook the bacon for about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon, and when it is cool enough to handle, cut it width-wise into 1/2-inch strips. 2. In a large casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the butter begins to bubble, add the chopped onions. Sauté the onions, stirring often, until they begin to soften and turn slightly translucent. Add the potatoes to the onions, and sauté everything together for about 2-3 minutes more. Add the stock and the bay leaves. Adjust the seasoning, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer everything together until the potatoes are soft and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. 3. When the potatoes are ready, add the cabbage to the pot. Simmer the cabbage until it is soft too, about 5 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and discard them. Don’t forget . . . like I did! 4. Once you find and remove the bay leaves, blend the soup together until it is smooth. If the soup is really thick, you may want to add some water to it to thin it out a little. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or a food processor, working in batches if necessary. Once the soup is puréed, stir in the bacon. Adjust the seasoning for the final time, and rewarm the soup if needed before serving.

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6 Comments

    • It does keep remarkably well. Like all thick soups, it just gets better over time. We might be getting Irish bacon again in the CSA. It’s always a surprise — which is awesome! Otherwise, there is always Myers of Keswick in the West Village (http://www.myersofkeswick.com/)! It’s like some kind of weird wormhole! NYC on the outside, British deli on the inside . . .

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