Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage (with Parsley Sauce)

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Tender juicy boiling bacon is paired with seasoned cabbage and served with a dollop of creamy parsley sauce!

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Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage is a delicious dinner of tender savory pork and perfectly seasoned fresh cabbage. As if it couldn’t get any better, I add a luscious creamy Parsley Sauce to spoon over the bacon. This dish is the epitome of the comforting homestyle foods of Ireland. It is quick and easy to put together and get on the table, making this an obvious choice for your Irish holidays.

What is Boiling Bacon?

Boiling bacon is usually associated with Ireland and is brined pork from a shoulder cut of meat, although other cuts of pork can be used. It is cooked whole and sliced afterward, not prior to cooking like the bacon we are normally accustomed to. During different periods of time, corned beef was used instead of boiling bacon, which is where the dish corned beef and cabbage originated. Both the corned beef and the boiling bacon are cooked in a similar fashion.

What is served with Boiling Bacon and Cabbage?

I often serve Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage on its own, however; if you’re serving a larger crowd you may want to add a side dish. Traditionally, boiled potatoes are served alongside bacon and cabbage adding a nice balance to the meal. In Ireland, potatoes are a staple food found at most meals prepared in many different ways. My buttery Irish Boiled Potatoes are made in the same manner that they are made in Ireland, specifically, County Cork, where I had my first taste. No bland spuds here!

Traditional Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage

Parsley Sauce and/or whole grain mustard usually accompanies boiling bacon with cabbage. It is a rich cream sauce that is made with the broth from the boiling bacon, a good Irish butter (like Kerrygold), and of course…parsley. This is a sauce that goes with any meat, or to simply eat by the spoonful! Yes, I have done this! 😉

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How to make Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage (with Parsley Sauce)

Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage is simple to prepare and requires only one pot, making this your new favorite dish for St. Patrick’s Day. The Parsley Sauce is optional, but it adds so much when served with the bacon and is definitely worth the extra effort.

Equipment Used

Ingredient List

One of the beauties of this recipe is that it requires few ingredients; only two if you’re not serving the parsley sauce. I have a hard time finding Irish boiling bacon at my local grocery store, so I go to a European market and deli to get both the bacon and the Kerrygold butter.

  • Meat – Irish boiling bacon
  • Vegetable – cabbage

Parsley Sauce:

  • Herb – parsley
  • Sauce – all-purpose flour, Kerrygold Irish butter, broth from boiling bacon, milk,
  • Seasonings – salt and pepper

Recipe Preparation – Boiling Bacon and Cabbage

  • Remove boiling bacon from wrapper and place on a cutting board. Carefully, place fingers underneath the netting and gently pull strings away from the meat all around the bacon while leaving the netting intact. Loosening the netting before boiling will prevent the strings from being cooked “into” the meat which could cause tearing when removed.
  • Place bacon in a large stock pot and cover completely with water. Bring water to a slow boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer bacon for about 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender when pierced with a fork. Skim any foam that forms off of the top. Note: Bacon should cook for 30 minutes per pound.
  • On a cutting board, cut the end off of the cabbage, then cut the cabbage into quarters.
  • About 15 to 20 minutes before meat is done, add quartered cabbage to the simmering bacon. The cabbage should be tender, but not wilted. When bacon and cabbage are cooked, remove the bacon and place on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon out the cabbage and place on a serving platter. If making the Parsley Sauce, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid for the recipe.
  • When bacon has rested, remove netting and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
Traditional Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage
  • Transfer meat to the serving dish with the cabbage. For a traditional Irish meal, serve with Parsley Sauce, Irish Boiled Potatoes, and a Guinness or Magners Cider.

Parsley Sauce

  • Wash and dry parsley. On a cutting board, mince parsley into very fine pieces. Set aside until ready to use.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Slowly stir in the flour and cook until mixture is smooth and no clumps remain.
  • Change to a whisk and slowly whisk in the bacon cooking liquid and the hot milk. Bring to a quick boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened. Do not overcook or sauce will become too thick. If this happens, you can add either more cooking liquid or more hot milk to thin. Add salt and pepper and minced parsley, whisking constantly. Cook only until parsley sauce is smooth and creamy.
Parsley-Sauce
The BEST and creamiest Parsley Sauce!
  • Serve warm with the boiling bacon and cabbage.
Traditional-Irish-Boiling-Bacon-and-Cabbage

Irish Boiling Bacon and Cabbage (with Parsley Sauce)

A delicious dinner of tender savory pork and perfectly seasoned cabbage served with a dollop of creamy parsley sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Irish
Servings: 6
Calories: 637kcal

Ingredients

Boiling Bacon and Cabbage

  • 3 lb Irish boiling bacon
  • 1 head cabbage quartered

Parsley Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp Irish butter (like Kerrygold)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cooking liquid from boiling bacon
  • 1 1/4 cup hot milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parsley minced

Instructions

Boiling Bacon and Cabbage

  • Remove boiling bacon from wrapper and carefully, pull strings away from the meat all around the bacon while leaving the netting intact.
  • Place bacon in a large stock pot and cover completely with water. Bring water to a slow boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer bacon for about 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender when pierced with a fork. Skim any foam that forms off of the top of the water. Note: Bacon should cook for 30 minutes per pound.
  • On a cutting board, cut the end off of the cabbage, then cut the cabbage into quarters. About 15 to 20 minutes before meat is done, add quartered cabbage to the simmering pot. Cook until cabbage is tender, but not wilted.
  • When bacon and cabbage are cooked, remove the bacon and place on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon out the cabbage and place on a serving platter. If making the Parsley Sauce, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid for the recipe.
  • When bacon has rested, remove netting and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Transfer meat to the serving dish with the cabbage.

Parsley Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Slowly stir in the flour and cook until mixture is smooth and no clumps remain. Change to a whisk, and whisk in the bacon cooking liquid and the hot milk. Bring to a quick boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking until thickened. If sauce is too thick you can add either more cooking liquid or more hot milk to thin. Add salt and pepper and minced parsley, whisking constantly. Cook only until parsley sauce is smooth and creamy. Serve warm with the boiling bacon and cabbage.

Notes

Serving Suggestions:  For a traditional Irish meal, serve Boiling Bacon and Cabbage with Parsley Sauce, Irish Boiled Potatoes, and a Guinness or Magners Cider.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 637kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g
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