Danger Kitchen
Danger Kitchen

Ham and Cabbage... Danger Kitchen Style


A traditional Irish meal... and more

Ingredients:

Cooks shank portion ham (The biggest one you can get)
2-3 heads of cabbage.
3-5 pounds of white potatoes.


Protocol:

Skin the ham and trim off a lot of the fat.
Rinse the ham well in hot water.
Put the ham in a very large pot and cover with hot water.
Place on high heat until boiling, reduce heat and simmer for at least two hours.
Trim, core and quarter the heads of cabbage.
Wash, trim and peel the potatoes (Peeling is optional).
Put the potatoes and cabbage in the pot with the ham and return to a rolling boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the cabbage and potatoes are tender... about 40 minutes.
Turn off the heat when done. The pot can sit for an hour before serving and still be hot enough.
Best served in large bowls with plenty of the broth on the side. Should serve 15 hungry people. Use a big spoon to dig out chunks of ham and cabbage and potatoes for each bowl. Cut up the ham and cabbage and mash the potatoes before covering with hot broth. Its great all mixed together.

Notes:

     Agnes Walter made the first batch of Ham and Cabbage I ever had. It was explained to me in great detail by her granddaughter Kelly Walter. I have to admit it didn't make too much sense at the time. The urge to make it into a New England Boiled Dinner was strong. Once I tasted it though I was convinced. Agnes Walter came over on a ship from county Cork in Ireland when she was eight. She's been here close to eighty years since then and has been making ham and cabbage the traditional way since the first time she made it. I have to admit that I put onions and carrots in a batch once as a test. Kelly was not amused. The results were not improved. Why try and change perfection?
     Agnes Walter uses a slightly different method. She doesn't cook the ham for quite as long and cooks the peeled potatoes separately. This may be due to her not having a large enough pot at the beach house. I've added some procedural enhancements to the process that extend the pleasure to additional meals. I slice a ham steak or two off a large ham shank to make Ham Steaks and Mashed Potatoes with. If you have a large enough pot, you have way more broth than you can use serving the ham and cabbage. Save the extra broth and freeze it if necessary. The broth makes the perfect base for pea soup instead of water. Don't be tempted to add any salt though, the broth is briny enough.

Look for a recipe for Ham Steaks and Mashed Potatoes soon.

Links:

Visit the Cooks Ham website.
Learn about County Cork by reading the Wikipedia entry.


Boat Notes:

This is actually a great meal to make on a boat for a number of reasons. Cabbage can stay fresh at room temperature for quite a few days. Cabbage can stay fresh for a month or more under refrigeration. Potatoes can last for weeks with no refrigeration. Ham is relatively forgiving when it comes to refrigeration. The whole meal is made in one pot. Seagulls will fight over the ham fat and skin. Crabs will be attracted to the ham trimmings. The ham is great on sandwiches for lunch, or egg sandwiches or omeletes for breakfast... or cold right out of the cooler or refrigerator for that matter in rough weather.

Stay tuned for a Ham and Cabbage Soup recipe.