Don’t Smother Me Bro

The only traditions our family had for New Year’s were to eat some black-eyed peas and cabbage. One is for good luck and the other for money, but I always wanted both so I just knew to eat a bite of each and I was good for a year, no need to memorize what goes with what.

I do think cabbage is the money one since lettuce is slang for dollar bills.

So I went to the grocery for the ingredients. There is no tasso (smoked pork chunks) here, but I did see some smoked hog jowls. I have never eaten that before, but what the hey, I’m a Cajun and it looked ghetto enough to go in my smothered cabbage.

Does that sound scary? Smothered cabbage?

It always did to me, especially when I was little. How about smothered chicken? I could just hear the poor chickie squaking as my mom shoved the lid down on that pot.

Anyway, I’ve been gone from Louisiana so long I second guessed myself on how to smother cabbage. I think my mom used to boil down the cabbage first, then smother it. But I don’t know, it seems like that would boil out the vitamins.

So I checked the trusty internet and found this recipe on

pam”s smothered cabbage

Okay, I know you won’t hit that link so I’ll just show you an excerpt. This is a real recipe.

Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in butter. Remove all stuffing from pillow and replace with sauteed seasonings. Set aside. Wash heads of cabbage using warm water and a mild shampoo. Dry thoroughly using a blow dryer and diffuser. Place cabbage heads on a soft surface. Cover the cabbage heads with the pillow and press firmly until cabbage is completely smothered.
(You will know they are smothered when they stop screaming). Remove pillow…


Anyway. Here’s how I do mine.

2 heads cabbage
some bacon, tasso, or hog jowls
salt and pepper
onion and bell pepper
can of chicken broth

Cut cabbage into two inch cubess. Put in a gigantic pot of boiling water or steamer and cook until wilted. While that’s cooking, fry bacon and drain off almost all the fat. Throw your onions, peppers, and garlic in there and saute. Add can of chicken broth, then toss in the steamed cabbage a little at a time because it can’t all fit in the pot at once. It cooks down a lot. As it shrinks, add more cabbage. Keep the lid on tight while it cooks on medium low flame. Stir often.


That’s my steamed cabbage being added (upper right) and the smothered cabbage (left). This is how much one head cooks down. The whole deal takes about a couple of hours to cook.

And that’s it for the holiday cooking season. I’m exhausted and damn glad it’s all over. I feel like a new person already.


15 thoughts on “Don’t Smother Me Bro

  1. May the coinage rain down on you, Melanie.

    Julie, many carbohydrates such as beans, vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions, and asparagus cause gas because the body can’t digest them. Bacteria in the colon have to do that so it is the bacteria that actually produces the gas.
    Fruits, such as pears, apples, and peaches do the same thing, as well as whole grains, such as whole wheat and bran.

    Yeah you can eat lettuce instead. Anything you believe in enough will do exactly what you think it will. Call it luck, positive thinking, or self-fulfilling prophecy.
    May you have much lettuce in 2009.

  2. I love coleslaw, especially with an Oriental dressing made with sesame oil. There is a dish we Irish like at St. Patrick’s Day, or on Halloween called colcannon, which is basically mashed potatoes with steamed cabbage mixed in. Yum! Some black-eyed peas migrated here from the food bank, but I was too lazy to cook them today.

  3. It seem as if I might have had this with potatoes. Not sure. glass noodles would be great in the smothered cabbage. Might try that when we eat it again on the January 2.

    Hi Silverstar. I have heard of colcannon, but I never knew what that was. I made a gigantic pot of black-eyed peas and will have to freeze the rest. Also made a killer corn bread. We’re talking some serious soul food here. Make you talk funny.

  4. “Remove all stuffing from pillow and replace with sauteed seasonings” – lol.

    I have made versions of this without bacon – I should try that some time. No pork jowls, though. I cannot go there.

  5. On New Year’s Day, my mom brought over a rather tasty cabbage dish she makes every year called Pigs in Blanket. Why the name? I haven’t a clue . . . but I know I ate too much of it. Let the bucks roll in . . .

    2 lbs. beef & 1 1/2 lbs. pork, ground together
    1 to 1 1/2 c. rice
    1 egg
    1 lg. can V-8 juice

    Core cabbage and place in boiling water. Take off one leaf at a time. Cut off thick part of cabbage leaf. Dice a good size onion and pan fry in bacon grease or salt pork (cut up small). Fry until golden. Cook rice and strain. Mix all ingredients, except V-8 juice and cabbage. With a tablespoon, fill each leaf of cabbage. Layer the pigs in blankets in roaster and pour V-8 juice over them. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  6. Maybe it has something to do with the sausage? In a blanket of cabbage? Probably, ya think?

    Her’s isn’t quite so proper. She just mixes it all together and cooks it in a casserole dish . . .

    Still, it’s mighty yummy . . .

  7. I cooked homemade refried beans, Mexican rice, and carne asada for New Year’s. Can you tell I grew up in California?

    I still have two heads of cabbage in the fridge from this fall’s shares in our CSA farm. I’m not much of a cabbage person. What am I waiting for, though, til they get so shriveled I HAVE to toss the things out?

    At least we used up one making borscht, which was delicious. Maybe bacon and onions and all as in smothering would do the trick. My hubbie likes cabbage. Why doesn’t HE just cook it up, then…?!

  8. Michele, I thought for sure the first comment on this would be something like, “I’m not afraid of the word ‘smother,’ but the pork jowl thing will give me nightmares.”

    Brian, thanks for the recipe. I’ve had stuffed cabbage before and it is similar to this recipe. I haven’t made it though. It seems time consuming. Do you have to roll up each little piggie in the cabbage?

    Writinggb, yeah, you need to get those cabbages in a pot. Shred it up and just boil it down or make a slaw.
    What is the CSA farm? Is it a community farm where you all put in time and get some of the produce?

  9. Only about 20% of CSA farms require work from the members. Ours doesn’t. We pay $400 in February (when they have to buy all the seeds and stuff), and then from June to October we go pick up our share of whatever ripens that week. Wonderful produce and it helps shelter the farmer a bit from bad seasons. If they did not have a reliable income from shareholders, a bad year could mean losing their farm. This way if there’s a particularly GOOD year, we benefit more, too. My son loves going there to get our share each week and picking fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes in the U-Pick part. A bit more cabbage than I like,… but I should just suck it up and start trying recipes!

  10. I love that idea of the CSA farms. I don’t have enough yard with this house to have a garden but in the other places I’ve had, I always had a garden. I really miss that.

  11. Well, you should look into where the local CSAs are in your neck of the woods. I’ll bet there are some nearby. I love getting the super fresh, healthy produce and also supporting local farmers. Win, win. You might try the website for info. Probably not everything gets listed, but they keep tabs on a lot of farms.

  12. The way the recipe is written, I would say yes, very time consuming. But the way my mom makes it is easier. Same ingredients, just jumbled all together and baked. Yummy, without the mess . . .

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