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Bacon and Cabbage Bake

We created this dish for St. Patrick’s Day since cabbage is an Irish favorite. But the problem is I don’t really like cabbage. But we gave it a shot and I’ll be Blarney if we didn’t come up with a keeper!
This skillet bacon baked cabbage changes my mind about the green vegetable all together, and I think I got my honorary Irish card!
So whether you’re Irish or Okie, we wish you many blessings, good food and good luck!
4 – 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
1 head cabbage
5 strips of thick-cut bacon
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Smoked paprika, to taste
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Remove 4 of the outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside.Dice 2 strips of the bacon and add to a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until done, about 5 minutes.Remove the bacon pieces from the skillet and place on a paper towel, keeping the grease in the skillet.Chop the cabbage into large pieces, avoiding the stem, and place in the skillet with the bacon grease. Stir in the garlic.  Cut the remaining bacon into 1 –inch pieces and place evenly on top of the cabbage.Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, to taste. You can always add more at the end to your taste.Cook for about 40 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. About 10 minutes before the cabbage is done, add 3 tablespoons of butter on the top of the dish and continue baking.Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Chop the reserved cabbage leaves and add to the skillet. Cook until the leaves are charred about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.Remove the skillet from the oven and season again, if needed. Sprinkle the charred cabbage and cooked bacon evenly on top. Serve hot.
Tip: Depending on how your oven heats, you may want to move the skillet toward the bottom rack so the cabbage cooks more evenly with the bacon on top.