Cabbage is one of those foods that people either love or hate. I find that most of the time when someone tells me that they aren’t fond of cabbage it’s because they just haven’t been eating the right persons cabbage. If you don’t prepare it properly it can be bland, bitter, or mushy – and sometimes all three at the same time! There is no magic to cooking good cabbage, but there are a few tips that will make it fabulous.
First, a good southern cabbage is one that has a foundation of yummy, flavorful ingredients. The most important thing is to make a good broth to cook your cabbage in. This flavorful broth will ensure that your cabbage is neither bland or bitter. When it comes to your broth you have to use a good meat. In the south, we like either smoked turkey or smoked ham hocks. My choice is tasty smoked turkey. You can use wings, legs, or other parts, but I find that the best flavor comes from a smoked turkey thigh!
The next key to awesome cabbage, is to not cook the life out of it for goodness sake! Cabbage cooks relatively fast, so you don’t want to just put the pot on stove and leave it. If you cook it too long, it gets mushy and gross. When you’re done cooking cabbage, it should still have a nice bright green color. If you get to the point where the leaves are almost translucent then you’ve gone to far my friend. The leaves should be tender, yet still have some “chew” to them. They should not disintegrate as soon as you put them in your mouth.
Below is my recipe for southern style cabbage. Even my SUPER picky son loves this dish. If you weren’t a fan before then this recipe might just make a believer out of you! Don’t forget to leave me a comment. I love to hear from you. ENJOY!
Southern Style Cabbage
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium sweet bell pepper (I like to use red or orange for color)
- Your choice of 1 fully-cooked, smoked turkey thigh, wing, or leg (deboned and chopped)
- 3 cups low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes (more or less depending on preference)
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Cut cabbage into quarters and then chop into one inch pieces. Set aside.
- In a deep skillet or large pot, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.
- Add in onions and cook for one minute.
- Add in garlic, turkey meat, and sweet pepper and cook for an additional two minutes.
- Slowly pour in chicken broth.
- Add seasoning salt, black pepper, and chili pepper flakes.
- Bring liquid to a quick boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until liquid has reduced by one cup (two cups of liquid should remain).
- Add cabbage and cover. Let simmer for four minutes on medium low heat.
- After four minutes, stir the cabbage, cover, and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Cabbage should still be bright green. Do not over cook your cabbage or it will be mushy.
Serve with additional chili pepper flakes if desired.