Recipe: Put a modern twist on an old favourite - Bacon and Cabbage

Here Di Curtin shares her recipe by Bubble and Squeek with Bacon and Parsley sauce
Recipe: Put a modern twist on an old favourite - Bacon and Cabbage
Putting a modern Twist on Bacon and Cabbage. Picture: Di Curtin

IN these times when we are trying to reduce our food shopping trips as much as possible, I’ve found myself planning meals with a view to making enough for leftovers, and then deciding what I can do with them.

So it was the case recently, with a meal of bacon and cabbage — the national dish of Ireland.

No wonder it’s so popular; there’s not much to beat it when you crave something homely and satisfying.

The combo of savoury Irish bacon and fresh local green cabbage, served with fluffy spuds with butter and some parsley or mustard sauce on the side, is made even better with quality cured and smoked bacon joints now readily available in supermarkets.

I always think it’s great to have a slab of cooked bacon in the fridge, for sandwiches and fast snacks, so I tend to buy a bigger piece than I need. But the leftovers from a meal of bacon and cabbage deserve a new lease of life second time round!

This weekend, I’ve put a different spin on Ireland’s favourite meal, by making crispy browned Bubble and Squeak cakes out of the leftover spuds and cabbage, to make a bed for hot or cold bacon slices. If you’ve got any parsley or mustard sauce leftover, a drizzle of this on top really finishes the dish. If you don’t have leftover sauce, I’ve given a recipe below for a simple white sauce which you can then flavour with parsley as I’ve done, or wholegrain mustard.


Ingredients (Serves 4)

500g leftover cooked potatoes, peeled weight 

225g cooked shredded cabbage 

1 small onion, peeled and grated 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Knob of butter 

Splash of oil 225g cooked ham, sliced 

Salad leaves to finish (optional)

For the sauce:

25g butter 

25g flour 

300mls milk 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1tbsp finely chopped parsley 


  • Roughly mash the potatoes in a bowl.
  • Add cooked cabbage, grated onion and seasoning.
  • Mix together with hands then form four round cakes on a floured board.
  • Melt butter with oil in a non stick pan. Add the cakes and cook gently over medium heat for a few minutes, till well browned on base. Flip over to brown other sides.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt butter in a pan and stir in flour.
  • Gradually add milk, whisking smooth.
  • Bring to bubbling, stirring, and bubble for a few moments till sauce thickens, stirring constantly.
  • Season and add parsley.
  • Serve the cakes topped with hot or cold sliced cooked ham and a drizzle of sauce. Top with salad leaves to finish.

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