Just in time for your New Years’ menu planning, this meaty side dish keys on the flavor of cabbage smothered down in a smoky, spicy casserole. Unlike any cabbage dish you’ve tasted before, this one will call you back for seconds.
Cabbage plays a popular role in Cajun and Creole cooking with an endless variety of recipes. It is easily grown in home gardens and commercial farms alike, and it is an inexpensive addition to the rural table. You will see cabbage side dishes on most lunch counter meat-and-three plates.
This version ups the ante on cabbage and elevates it with a substantial infusion of ground meat, smoked sausage, and bacon, which makes it worthy of center-of-the-plate entrée status. I’ve kept the spice levels moderate for most palates, but I will admit that a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne could certainly kick this dish up.
Give this Cajun farmhouse recipe a try, and watch your guests make room on their plates for an extra scoop or two.
- 2 strips bacon, chopped
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
- 1 cup chopped smoked pork sausage
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, such as Rotel
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 4 cups chopped cabbage
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice, such as Supreme
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- In a cast-iron pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add the ground chuck and sausage, and cook the meat until it is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, and cook until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic along with the spices, and stir to combine.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken stock. Add the cabbage and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for 45 minutes.
- Once the cabbage is tender and the flavors have melded, add the rice and stir. Cover the pot and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Once the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and is fully cooked, transfer to a baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 350ºF. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven.
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