Bacon and cabbage is Ireland's most popular meal, according to Ireland's food board Bord Bia.
The wholesome, hearty, and old-fashioned meal is most certainly close to the Irish people’s heart: Bord Bia found that 64 percent of Irish adults consider bacon and cabbage the meal most synonymous with Ireland and that 30 percent of Irish people crave the dish while traveling abroad.
Irish Americans share a similar affinity for the traditional Irish meal. In the US, it’s still very much a tradition to eat corned beef and cabbage, which evolved from the traditional bacon as it was difficult for Irish immigrants to get their hands on the meat at the time.
But in the name of tradition, here's a traditional recipe for Irish bacon and cabbage with mustard sauce!
Traditional Irish bacon and cabbage recipe:
- 1½kg loin of bacon
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 leeks
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1kg cabbage, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp oven-dried breadcrumbs
- ½ tbsp brown sugar
- Knob of butter
- 50g butter
- 25g flour
- 1 tbsp Mustard
- 250ml mixture cooking liquid and cream
Place the joint in a large saucepan.
Add chopped vegetables and peppercorns.
Cover with cold water.
Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for approximately 20 minutes per ½ kg.
Set oven to gas mark 6, 200ºC (400ºF).
Remove the joint from the saucepan.
Remove the rind and score the fat.
Place the joint on a roasting dish.
Spread with mustard and bread crumbs, sugar and a knob of butter.
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
To make the sauce:
Melt the butter, add the flour and mustard.
Cook for a minute or two.
Whisk in the cooking liquid and cream.
Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Taste for seasoning.
The sauce should have the consistency of thin cream.
To cook the cabbage:
Place the cabbage in a saucepan and barely cover with some of the reserved cooking liquid.
Bring to the boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Drain well and toss in butter.
Season to taste.
Slice the bacon and serve on the bed of cabbage, a little of the mustard sauce, and of course floury potatoes.
*For more cooking inspiration visit Recipes.BordBia.ie.
*Originally published in Aug 2016. Updated in June 2023.
What's your favorite Irish recipe? Let us know in the comments!