Pork and Cabbage Hot Pot

I’m under the impression that bacon and cabbage is not the most favoured combination for many an Irish person. I didn’t grow up on it, personally, but I think there are many folk who had unpleasant experiences with it as childers.

So when we see our stateside friends getting excited about bacon and cabbage around St Patrick’s Day, there can be reactions of “Bleurgh! Why would you ever want to eat that?”

But, guess what? Bacon and cabbage is totally yum. I found this recipe for Irish Coddled Pork with Cider and gave it a few tweaks to fit in with what I had in my fridge.

The recipe called for pork chops, which are really hard to get right. Even though I was really happy with this dinner, my chops were still on the dry side. I seared them on one side a hot pan on for 5 minutes, to give them a lovely brown colour. Then I steamed them on top of the vegetables for 20 minutes while this coddle-style stew when about its cooking business. They came out pretty tough, I won’t lie to you.

Does anybody know how to cook a perfect pork chop? Or is there a similar cut of pork that would work better in this dish? All suggestions on a postcard, please. Or in the comment box at the end of this post :)

This is a lovely and simple winter warmer. There ain’t much to it prep-wise, but it delivers buckets in the comfort department.

What you need for a Pork and Cabbage Hot Pot for 2 


Olive Oil

2 good quality pork chops

1 leek

80g of bacon lardons (or 3 or 4 rashers, chopped)

4 medium sized carrots (or 2 large ones)

1/2 head of white cabbage

4 medium sized potatoes (or 2 large ones)

1 sprig of rosemary



150ml good quality Irish cider

150ml good quality chicken stock

Heat a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, over a high heat. Sear the pork chops on one side for 4 or 5 minutes, until starting to get a golden colour.

Meanwhile, finely slice and wash the leeks.

When the pork is getting golden on the one side, remove from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat down to a medium to high heat.

In the same pan, fry the chopped leek and bacon lardons for about 5 minutes. You can add a little more butter or oil if you think you need to, but you should be ok.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the carrots into bite-sized chunks. Chop and wash the cabbage. Peel the potatoes and slice them into bite-sized chunks, roughly the same size as the carrots.

When the leek and bacon have had their 5 minutes, add the carrots and cabbage to the mix and fry for a further 2 or 3 minutes. Now add the potato chunks, season well with salt and pepper. Finally, chop the needles from the rosemary sprig and add to the pot, mixing everything well.

Pour over the cider and the chicken stock. The veg will be almost covered, but not completely. Place the pork chops, un-seared side down, on top of the vegetables.

Cover the pot and let it simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. They should be al dente rather than soft. Take the pot off the heat.

Now you can make a bit of gravy. Carefully remove some of the liquid stock from the pot and place in a smaller pan. Add a spoonful of flour and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until bubbling, over a high heat. Now you can sieve it into a little gravy jug.

Divide the vegetables and pork over two plates, and serve with a drizzle of that lovely cider-based gravy. While listening to Danny Boy, of course.


I’m a bit of a nostalgic softie. I’ve been known to cry when watching re-runs of the original Riverdance performance at Eurovision 1994, Michael Flatley notwithstanding.

So, while I was cooking this dish, I found myself singing Arthur McBride. Below is a video of Paul Brady singing said song. I may be corny, but there ain’t nothing twee about this song. Amaze.

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  1. Try brining pork chops. It keeps them moist and gives them tons of flavour. Here’s one of my fave recipes, for cider-brined pork chops with apples and creamed leeks, which isn’t too dissimilar to some of the flavours in your recipe here: http://dinnerdujour.org/2009/10/19/cider-brined-pork-chops-with-apples-and-creamed-leeks/

    I brined a whole pork loin too, with the pork Bord Bia sent out last year: http://dinnerdujour.org/2010/05/19/brined-pork-loin-with-rhubarb-compote-and-sauteed-fennel/

  2. Oh, hell yes. That song is just the best thing ever; his guitar playing is unbelievable. You could also say the same about his glasses.

    I’ve almost never had a moist pork chop, and the one or two times I did, I had cooked them myself but have no idea exactly what I did right.

    The Larousse Gastronomique describes the cut of pork that is most often used in chops (foreloin) as “lean and rather dry”, so I suppose it’s just that way. You could probably try using a fattier cut of pork; maybe if you find a good butcher, he/she can suggest something and cut it into the appropriate size for you. It’s tough when you’re buying from the supermarket, though, isn’t it?

    • Paul Brady’s glasses are amay-zing.

      I got the pork chops in Marks & Spencers, they were Scottish pork chops. It was the handiest place for me to get them on the day that was in it. But you’re right, next time I’m in FX Buckley’s I’ll ask their advice.

      But perhaps the pork chop is a lost cause. Either that, or you just need to cook it for 5 minutes!

  3. The problem with pork in general is that the commercial breeds have had all the fat bred out of them making for much drier, less forgiving meat. Something to note though is pork chops do not have to be cooked through like chicken so it’s okay to serve them medium rare, i.e., still a bit pink in the middle; the old advice on cooking pork was formulated when an infection called trichosinosis was still a problem but that has long been eliminated from modern stocks. Another way to go would be to head in to Downey’s butchers in Terenure and get some wild boar bone-in chops as they have a lovely bit of fat in them and dont dry out as easily.

    • That all makes a whole load of sense, Stef. Especially the wild boar bone-in chops part! That sounds brilliant. And definitely worth a trip out to Terenure for.

      • Yeah, there’s some great info in Modernist cuisine about cooking pork that was published in extract form in The Guardian, well worth a read:


        Also, there’s an online butchers that does deliveries of wild boar if it’s a bit of hassle to get to Terneure, I’ve been getting wild boar shoulders and all sorts of him recently. It’s not listed on their site (it’s currently down at the moment anyway) but if you just send an email saying what you want he’ll get it for you:

        john at johnsmeatco dot ie

  4. Beautiful pix – love bacon and cabbage, btw. Pork these days is so lean it’s hard to keep it juicy. I think with this recipe I’d wait and put the pork chops in the pot for only the last 5-7 minutes of cooking. That should keep them a little pink in the middle. Also, I’ve had good luck brining my pork chops. 1 Tbsp salt and 1 Tbsp sugar per liter of water and let the chops soak for about an hour (total amount of water depends on the number of chops). You can put other flavorings in the brine, too, e.g. smashed garlic and juniper berries. Dry them thoroughly and proceed with browning. Finally, use bone-in chops instead of boneless.

    • Great call on brining, have done that myself and it really works.

    • Hi Bill, I have never brined so this could be an interesting project for me! Love the idea of smashed garlic and juniper berries in there too. The bone-in idea is a good tip too, makes sense that it would be juicier and tastier.

      I will try the brining and report back!

  5. Hello there!…Yes I agree that pork chops are a very dry meat and even if you use the whole shank without parting them, as soon as they come in contact with moisture, they are even drier. Try using a fillet of pork for this recipe. If you have a nice butcher he will tie it for you with string (to save it breaking loose)). Brown the fillet well on all sides and place over the veg for the last 10 minutes. That way it is done, moist and a little pink in the middle. I’ve tried out your recipe using the pork fillet and it turned out great – using Asturian cider ( as I cannot get hands on Irish)…lol

    Must try Bill’s suggestion next time for chops..

    • Hi Maureen, thanks for your advice on the pork fillet. I really like this recipe but I did have to get out the steak knives when eating the pork chops :( I will definitely give the fillet idea a go. Thanks a million for your comment!

  6. That looks so lovely. We had bacon and cabbage last night too. Something about frosty nights prompts a hankering for simple flavourful dishes.

  7. Came to check out the kale pesto and now I see you have several more dinner ideas for me–yumbo!
    I will add my votes to both wild boar or some form of heritage pork that’s fattier if you can get it, and to brining.
    I like the Chez Panisse brine recipe: http://articles.sfgate.com/1999-08-25/food/17696215_1_chez-panisse-brined-chicken-alice-waters

    • Hey Lucy T! Thanks a mill for that brine recipe, looks like a winner. Definitely going to give it a go! I so want pork chops to be good but it seems very hard to get them to not taste like prison/boarding school food :(