Organic and Thrifty

Thrifty Sauteed Cabbage with Pork Jowl Bacon

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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