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Yearning for a Boiled Dinner … with Variations

March 18, 2013 by Joan Nova in Finishing Touches, Food Pairings, Italian, Spanish/Tapas | 14 Comments

While everyone was eating corned beef and cabbage this past weekend, I ate a “cajun spiced Salmon Rueben” and an “open-faced chipotle shrimp tortilla”.

They were both great, but left me yearning. I had an itch that needed scratching.

Everyone seems to associate corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick’s Day, but similar boiled dinners are a staple in very many cultures.

• I grew up eating “cocido” which is the heart of Caldo Gallego soup. It’s actually a two-meal (or two-course) dinner – the soup and the boiled dinner flavored mostly by a variety of pork products.

• Bollito Misto is the Italian version with beef (like brisket) at its heart.

• The Americanized version of a boiled dinner I ate growing up was always accompanied by mustard as a condiment. Dunk the ham/pork, dunk the cabbage. Love the contrast.

• My friend, Norma, is known for her St. Patrick’s Day parties and she makes a delicious boiled dinner. She Latin-ifies the pot with Sazón, onions and other seasonings.

• Another friend, Carolyn, mentioned this weekend that her mom (Italian from Piacenza) dressed the cabbage portion of the dinner with olive oil, fresh garlic, a little vinegar and salt + pepper before serving it. I immediately drooled.

What they all have in common is the method: boiling (something I rarely do) and the vegetables – potatoes, cabbage and carrots.

*            *            *

I combined a little of the special elements of each version in one pot and weighted it more toward vegetarian (of course, flavored by pork but not as a fork-and-knife component). It yielded a lot … and I ate a lot, with plenty leftover to give a taste to my mom, my aunt and my son and more for me on another day.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Boiled Dinner ... with Variations
the best of all cultures
Cuisine: Varied
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 cup dry chick peas (garbanzos)
  • 1 head of cabbage quartered
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • honey gold baby potatoes
  • a small chunk (about 2") of salt pork (pork belly) diced
  • 1 chorizo diced
  • 2 cloves garlic (one for the pot, one for the dressing)
  • 1 packet Sazón with saffron
  • salt + pepper*
  • garlic-marinated olive oil and cider vinegar
How To
  1. Cook in stages starting with boiling beans with salt pork and chorizo for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add cabbage and carrots. Cook for about another 15-30 minutes.
  3. Potatoes go in last. Little tender ones don't take long.
  4. Drain (reserve liquid - it's a great broth).
  5. Finish with dressing of olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic and lots of salt and pepper.
*generous amounts of salt and pepper in plating


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. I can relate to an itch for something food-wise and it happens to me too. Great looking meal and full of flavor to take care of your cravings. Great idea to add the chorizo too.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Carbonnade à la Flamande ~ Belgium Beef & Onions Braised in BeerMy Profile

  2. Lori Lynn says:

    It looks very tasty. I like that it is heavy on vegetables, with a bit of meat.
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Not Your Ordinary “Chopped” SaladMy Profile

  3. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    I rememeber growing up with cocidos and now that I am married to an Irish man St. Paricks is now another addition to my boiled dinners but adding the Latin twist. Your version with the addition of the chorizo sounds wonderful and warm…soul food at its best…thanks for the mention.

  4. As you so rightly point out, Joan, boiled dinners, which frankly just sound boring, can be exciting. And comforting. I love your friend Carolyn’s mother’s idea for dressing the cabbage. Of course, I do. Mind you, all of your variations sound wonderful. Would love to try Norma’s–or maybe just go to her party! Will have to search out a package of Sazón with saffron on my next visit to the states.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Condiments, Sauces, and Dips and Three Fabulous ExamplesMy Profile

  5. Thanks, Joan. Will it make it through customs????? Not sure. I’ll email you though.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Condiments, Sauces, and Dips and Three Fabulous ExamplesMy Profile

  6. Hi Joan,

    All of the variations you mentioned sound just as good as a traditional boil dinner — which I love. Your recipe sound so good and I need to try it. I spiked my coffee with Irish cream, does that count as celebrating? Lol:)
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Linguine with Broccoli and Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Plus A GiveawayMy Profile

  7. Boiled isn’t a very appetising word is it? You manage to take it up a level Joan.
    Sally – My Custard Pie recently posted..Irish food – from farm to fine diningMy Profile

  8. Monique says:

    I love Florida:-)
    It must be lovely right now.
    We have been going for years…
    I’ll come back and visit more of your posts tomorrow:-)
    Monique recently posted..Spring has Sprung!Or has it? Or will it?My Profile

  9. zerrin says:

    Hi Joan! This sounds like a very flavorful dinner! I think cabbage always need some additional flavors to turn into a tasty dish and you combined it with some super ingredients like chickpeas and chorizo.

  10. Hi Joan- I love boiled dinners which is why I am always doing a shrimp and sausage boil and serving with lots of butter when we’re down at the beach. This is lovely and I have book marked it because it makes such a lovely and healthful meal. Thanks for another classic!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Spring is in the Air ~ Oven Baked Ricotta & Asparagus FrittataMy Profile

  11. sippitysup says:

    … and I like a good old fashioned seafood boil with shrimp, potatoes and corn on the cob. GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Very, Very Green Edamame and Shrimp SaladMy Profile

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