This week, Kimi, over at The Nourishing Gourmet (a beautiful blog, so inspirational!) is hosting her weekly Pennywise Platter Round-Up and I’m excited to jump in and share a thrifty recipe that is nourishing and “paleo”.  So often, we think of “beans and rice” when we consider frugal foods, but does thrifty necessarily mean high-carbs?  My mission, here at Organic and Thrifty, is to prove otherwise!!!!

This delicious meal combines a thrifty and nutritious staple vegetable, green cabbage, with pork jowl bacon, a rather odd (but extremely frugal) cut of meat found in my local grocery store, WinCo.  The entire meal cost way under $5.00, and was devoured by my husband and two children. 

I chose to use pork jowl bacon at the recommendation of my massage therapist whose intense research into the human body has lead him to the conclusion that Westerners are all hopelessly devoid of collagen in their diet.  As a devout Weston Price “follower”, my LMT knows that animal fat and protein is important, but we Westerners tend to avoid the organs, tendons, and cartilage of the meat….you know, the “grizzle”.  Though not necessarily pleasing to the palate, these parts contain lots of collagen which is crucial for the body’s repair of muscles and ligaments.  While beyond the scope of this post, I do want to devote an upcoming post to the importance and benefits of collagen in the diet.

After the collagen pep talk, I decided to seek out sources and I was pleasently surprised to find abundant options at my local WinCo (which has a multi-enthnic customer base, so carries a variety of interesting meat choices that most typical chain grocery stores don’t carry).  It turns out that Pork Jowl Bacon is very high in collagen and is a pleasant way to consume it! (I’m not quite brave enough for pig’s feet!)

Pork Jowl Bacon does not come sliced, so it’s easy to cube, which is what I did for this recipe. It has a taste and texture like that of a ham steak, yet with more of a bacon “kick”. It’s hard to explain, but if you think “ham” it should go down just fine. At any rate, it pairs perfectly with cabbage.  Here’s what I did:

Sauteed Cabbage with Pork Jowl Bacon
(Makes 4 Servings)

1 Tablespoon each of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Butter ($0.30 for both)
2 cups diced pork jowl bacon ($1.50 at Winco)
1/2 medium yellow onion ($0.15)
1/2 medium head of cabbage (about 4-5 cups), shredded (approx. $0.75)
1/4 cup of homemade chicken broth (less than $0.10)
2 teaspoons dried, crumbled sage (free from garden, or negligible if bought in bulk)
2 teaspoons dried, dulse flakes ($0.60)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1) Melt butter and olive oil in a cast iron or stainless steel saute pan.

2) Add diced pork jowl bacon and saute for 10 minutes over medium heat.

3) Add the shredded cabbage and onion cook until limp, but still “crunchy” looking.

4) Add the chicken broth and cover the pan to steam-cook for about 5-7 minutes until completely soft.

5) Add sage and dulse, sea salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.

 This meal is truly thrifty in so many ways. It costs a total of $3.40 for 4 people (there was not a lick of the dinner left in the pot!!!), but the great thing about it is that the nourishing fat from the pork and butter, paired with the calcium-rich broth and the vitamin-rich cabbage satiated me for the rest of the evening.  This meal is also very quick to prepare. In fact, for those paleo-types out there who are not adverse to such things, it would make a fabulous breakfast!

I hope you’ll try the pork jowl bacon and let me know what you think. For the price, you can’t beat it! 

Join me and head over to Kimi’s Pennywise Platter Thursday and check out the other like-minded folks who are stretching their dollars with nutrient-dense food!

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10 Responses to “Thrifty Sauteed Cabbage with Pork Jowl Bacon”

  1. […] Sauteed Cabbage and Pork Jowl Bacon […]

  2. You are so creative! I just love the information you shared in the post as well as the recipe. I appreciate you being part of the carnival, because I was hoping I could get some grain free people on there sharing how they make it work! Thank you!

  3. Helen Identicon Helen says:

    I am of Russian heritage. In my family we made this dish often. It was jellied pigs feet. In essense, you cook the pigs feet, make a broth using carrots, celery onion, salt, pepper, bay leaf. After the broth has cooked a long time, youi strain it. Then pick the meat from the bones. We used to love nibbling and sucking on those flavorful bones.

    You can either chill the broth and then skim the fat or leave as is. My family used to skim the broth. Then mix the broth with the meat, add the cooked carrotsm which you have dced into small pieces from the broth and pour into a casserole. Chill this, then you can cut it into serving size pieces and serve with a mustard or horseradish. It is delicious!

  4. Heather Identicon Heather says:

    One of our family favorites is much like this, but I use a few slices bacon fried crisp & crumbled back in at the end (DH would like jowl–it’s a favorite of his!), & a pound of sausage browned with the onion & cooked with the onion, cabbage, and broth. I think the original recipe (from Backwoods Home magazine, several years ago) called for hot Italian sausage, but I use what I have on hand & add some oregano, basil, garlic, and a few drops tabasco, if it’s not hot or Italian. Mine’s a whole head of cabbage recipe that wants 3 1/2 c chicken broth.

  5. carrie Identicon carrie says:

    Helen and Heather,

    What fascinating contributions and variations! Thank you so much. I want to try both of those ideas!

    Helen, I have a whole pig’s leg (including the foot) in my freezer; purchased for about $3.00. I’m so excited to try making the broth because I have researched how nourishing and healthy it is! I will report back when I make this!

  6. Carrie-

    Do you think pork jowl bacon is something you could request at New Seasons? I am wanting to try the recipe but am worried about where the bacon at Winco actually came from. Also do you think if we don’t put the butter in it will change the flavor at all?

  7. carrie Identicon carrie says:


    I think it’s certainly worth a try; let’s both ask and see if they’d do a special order for us! They are so great about that kind of thing there!

    Yeah, I have similar concerns about Winco meat; I don’t normally buy there but that was the only place I knew for sure had it. I also think we could try asking a local farm like Lonely Lane farms (you can e-mail them by Tuesday and they will bring whatever you request to the Beaverton Farmer’s Market for you!)

    I’m going to be gone this Saturday, but perhaps I can ask them about it for the following Saturday :)

    Regarding the butter: Have you guys tried ghee (clarified butter; no casien)? It’s usually a great option even for those who are going dairy-free as it lacks the common allergens. Otherwise, I would substitute coconut oil or just leave it out altogether and rely on the fat from the bacon :)

  8. Thanks Carrie! I am excited to try it when we are done with VBS this week! Ez and I are leaving every morning at 6:45 am this week to get there and set up. He had a blast this morning but was exhausted!

    Excited to find out more about Lonely Lanes Farms!

    Thanks Carrie:)

  9. ndoublel Identicon ndoublel says:

    side note…did you tell realfoodmedia that you changed web addresses because its not updated on their site

  10. Rachel Identicon Rachel says:

    I’m eating this as I type… Very tasty! I never would have been brave enough to try pork jowls without you forging the way, but I am definitely making this again! Especially since the whole package of pork jowls was only $2.13 at Sunrise Farms, where I buy my naturally-raised meat.

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