Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little bit of Irish comfort

"There are always cabbage and onions in your fridge", I tease my my Mum each time we go home to Northern Ireland. And while its true, there are many other delicious items squished inside the tiny (compared to our embarrassingly enormous American model) fridge. Most exciting is the proper back bacon ...none of this streaky stuff. The back bacon has a fraction of the fat but all the flavor; very appealing to someone trying to take the healthy route in life. I've wondered many times, in my 11 years living here in the US, where does the "back bacon" part of the pig go to?

Ireland gets bad rap in the US for a lack of good food and here's an opportunity for me to contest that. Certainly I've has some bad food there, but Ireland seemed to embrace the locavore culture long before it was trendy, and therein lies tasty food. Think beautiful fresh fish, amazing breads, artisinal cheeses, mouth watering chutneys. Maybe you need a link to the Northern Irish Tourist Board?

Anyway, I guess I've been craving a little comfort food; my husband has been away on business all week, my 2 year old has croup and we've had 2 snow days, a holiday and a sick day off school. A lot of cooped up time.

Time to bring on, what I call, Irish Lasagna. How better to lift everyone's mood, than to fry up some bacon, add onions and cabbage, layer the whole thing with potatoes and cheese, then bake. Essentially that's the recipe but I suppose more detail might be helpful.

Irish Lasagna

Makes 1 large 3 quart lasagna dish (enough for 4)


1 lb bacon (I use the low sodium variety)
1 onion (any color), finely chopped
1 savoy cabbage (any size), sliced roughly
2-3 tablespoons broth (chicken or veg)
2 1/2 lbs of potatoes, sliced thinly
8 oz sharp cheddar, grated
salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Heat a large deep skillet on medium high (I use my trusty cast iron dutch oven). Using scissors, snip the bacon into small pieces over the pan and fry until crispy and a lot of the fat has rendered out.
  3. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain off all the fat except for approx 1 tablespoon. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and fry up the onions for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage and broth, stir and put the lid on. Stir every now and again for about 10 minutes until the cabbage has wilted and becomes a little caramelized (my mouth is watering).
  5. Meanwhile grate the cheddar and slice the potatoes.
  6. Grease the lasagna dish
  7. Take the cabbage off the heat and stir the bacon back in.
  8. Place a layer of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish, overlapping a little
  9. Cover with half the cabbage mixture, then another layer of potatoes, one more of cabbage and finally one last layer of potatoes.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese generously on top.
  11. Bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
  12. Present to your family and watch them ask for seconds

Job well done

A few side notes: feel free to substitute leeks or shallots for the onions, any other green for the cabbage, and more or less potatoes or cheese to taste. I only used cheese on the top as a nod to a healthier meal (ha ha who am I kidding?), however it would be delicious rich and decadent if cheese were sprinkled on top of each cabbage layer. I'm just saying.



  1. How appropriate that I posted this on both my Mum and neice Caitlin's birthdays. Happy Birthday!

  2. Link to the Tourist Board! - I'm so proud of you

  3. Have been dying to try this as it has appealed to my taste buds for...well since I was born! Have hesitated as my oldest and youngest aren't potato fans (I know, I don't know how we created those children), and anything green gets a disdainful look these days. But I tired it and OMG, everyone ate it without a fight, there were questions of course, but I think was sealed the deal was the lashings of cooked cheese on top making the spuds unavoidably delicious and then of course as my husband pointed out how can you go wrong when everything is soaking in bacon juice! Thanks Auntie Katri!

  4. Yay! Score for Mummy Jayne. I must do this again for mine; a lot of fussy behavior at dinner recently...argghh!