It may be over 100 degrees here in Texas this week, but since September is here surely fall has to be right around the corner, right? Whether it is or not we have been enjoying this one pot meal I call the peasant’s pot.
In my mind this is the food of hard-working people who need sheer nourishment from the foods they can procure with their own two hands. This dish is versatile, and tasty, and was probably eaten for generations by various cultures.
It is reminiscent of corned beef and cabbage, which may or may not be traditionally Irish. It is reminiscent of what I have heard some call “the ham pot”, also talked about by the real food man himself, Jamie Oliver.
But I call it a peasant pot because it is for those of us who enjoy homegrown, home cooked food without much in the way of frills. Some cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, and a bit of preserved or fresh meat is all you need. Add some good mustard and you’ve got yourself a meal worth huddling around the fire for, or sweating it out with as the case may be.
The Peasant’s Pot
Recipe note: This is just an outline, based on some veg that I usually have on hand. Feel free to swap out the cabbage for any type of green and use any root vegetables – parsnips, rutabagas, potatoes, etc. Some beans or peas wouldn’t be wrong here, either, especially if you’re looking to stretch the meat.
- 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
- 3 Tablespoons bacon grease, butter, olive oil, etc.
- 1 small cabbage or 1/2 large cabbage, sliced thinly
- 6 carrots, cut into 3/4″ chunks
- 1/2 – 1 lb of ham, smoked sausage, bacon, leftover roast, or any combination thereof
- 1 lb potatoes cut into chunks, optional
- 1/2 cup broth or water
- salt and pepper to taste
- mustard to serve
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the cooking fat. If you are using meat you must fry first do that now. Otherwise, add the onions and fry until translucent. Add the carrots and cabbage and fry a few more minutes, just until they are starting to soften. Add the meat, potatoes (if using), broth or water, and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Cover, and lower temperature to medium-low. Now you just allow it to simmer until all of the vegetables are tender to your liking or you are ready to eat, at least 15 minutes.
- Serve with a generous plop of spicy mustard on the side. Crusty bread and butter wouldn’t be out of order either.