Bacon makes everything better! Smoky, savory, and a little salty, it’s the perfect accent to just about everything. Bacon and White Cabbage Gratin combines the classic duo in an easy and elegant dish that is sure to become a favorite side.
There’s something just warm and cozy about cabbage that is perfect this time of year. Whether it’s a main like Sheet Pan Orange Glazed Chicken with Cabbage, or this hearty and comforting side, it’s an easily accessible ingredient that is a canvas for flavor.
When you start with bacon, you already know you’re in for a delicious meal. Bacon and cabbage in general are a traditional pairing. Bacan and White Cabbage Gratin elevates that combination yet only requires a handful of simple ingredients.
- Kayem Small Batch Maplewood Smoked Bacon – For over 100 years and four generations, Kayem Meats has been focusing on recipes with quality meat and ingredients. Based in Chelsea, MA, they’re the official frankfurter of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park. They’re thick cut bacon is smoked over Maplewood and given a touch of single sourced maple syrup.
- White Cabbage – Slightly bitter but becomes nutty and a little sweet as it roasts. It gives texture to every bite and its natural flavors balance the rich ingredients.
- Heavy Cream – Gives richness to this dish and thickens as it bakes.
- Gruyere – Nutty, savory, and a little salty, Gruyere is a classic cheese for gratin style dishes.
- Salt and Pepper – With the salty flavors in the bacon and the cheese, it doesn’t take much to accent the ingredients and highlight their natural flavors.
- Thyme – Gives an herbaceous pop of freshness. Thyme has a slightly lemony flavor that wakes up this dish with freshness.
How to Make Bacon and White Cabbage Gratin
Armed with a cast iron skillet and less than 40 minutes, this decadent and delicious side goes from oven to table with ease. Creamy yet a little charred and crispy, savory, and completely irresistible, this side is easy enough for any night of the week yet special enough to serve for an occasion.
Time needed: 40 minutes
Charred cabbage is combined with bacon and baked with heavy cream for a simple side with bold flavors.
- Mise en Place
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut bacon into bite sized pieces and your cabbage into wedges.
Saute your bacon until the fat is rendered, but it isn’t over cooked. Remove it from the pan, allowing drippings to remain.
Place the cabbage into the cast iron skillet and allow the first side to sear before flipping and searing the second side, about ten minutes.
Pour the heavy cream into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bacon back into the pan, scattering it all over the top. Add the fresh time and sprinkle the Gruyere cheese all over the top.
Allow the cabbage and bacon to bake for 20 minutes or until the cream is bubbly and thickened and the cabbage is fork tender.
Gruyere cheese is an ideal melting cheese and a classic component for gratins. However, you can use other types of melting cheeses for this dish. Emmental, Fontina combined with parmesan cheese, Jarlsberg, and cheddar are other options. The flavor won’t be quite the same but they are all great choices for melting.
Using a cast iron pan for this cabbage and bacon recipe allows you to not only char the cabbage, giving it even more flavor and texture, but also easily transfer the skillet from the stovetop to the oven.
Portions of this dish can be prepared in advance. The bacon can be cooked off and kept stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The cabbage can be charred in the cast iron skillet earlier in the day, cooled, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Allow to come to room temperature before adding in your remaining ingredients and baking.
Leftovers can be stored for up to three days in the refrigerator. Either transfer to an airtight container or allow your cast iron skillet to cool and then cover. The leftovers can be gently reheated in the microwave.
Top Tip for Bacon and White Cabbage Gratin
This recipe for cabbage gratin is as much about the texture as it is the flavors. After removing your bacon from the pan allow your skillet to come back up to temperature before adding in the cabbage. You want the pan to be hot so you get some char on both sides of the cabbage wedges.
Bacon and White Cabbage Gratin
- 1 cast iron skillet
- 6-8 oz Maplewood smoked bacon, chopped
- 5-6 cabbage wedges
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add chopped bacon to a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Allow it to cook until the fat has rendered but the bacon hasn't overcooked. Remove from the pan, leaving the drippings.
- Arrange the cabbage wedges in the hot skillet. Allow the first side to get color and char, about 5 minutes. Flip and let the second side char for about another 5 minutes, or until it has some color.
- Pour the heavy cream over the cabbage. Evenly sprinkle the bacon over the tops. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, and finally sprinkle the Gruyere over the top.
- Allow the cabbage to bake for 20 minutes, or the cabbage is fork tender and the cream has thickened and is bubbly. Enjoy!