Some things just go together; pork and greens are a perfect example of this.  A tiny amount of pork, saved from the bin, is all you need to give that leftover cabbage some pep in its step.

This recipe was inspired by an amazing food writer and cook, Edna Lewis.  She lived in Freetown, Virginia, which was a community of people who had emancipated themselves from slavery.  This community included her grandparents, themselves emancipated slaves.  Her recipes show a deft experience of working with excellent produce and how to make every meal into a feast.  That skill comes from experience and a respect for food and not wasting it, a skill that you, me and more people are now re-learning.  If you’re interested in reading about seasonal, delicious and thrifty food, and the relationship of this pioneering African-American woman and community, hunt it out, curl up in a chair and learn,

I experimented with this recipe, using half groundnut oil and half sesame oil to make it veggie and vegan friendly.  It was okay but a little greasier.  The taste was less mellow and reminiscent of nutty seaweed from Chinese takeaways – one of my favourite choices when I spurge on a takeaway. Not bad, just different.

If you cook roast pork you must MUST save the fat, precisely for recipes like this.  You’re making the most of the joint and saving money; this is the recipe to convince you.

(Three ways with half a) Leftover Smothered Cabbage

Adapted barely, from ‘The Taste of Country Cooking’, Edna Lewis, p139
Serves 2-4 as a side dish


1/2 a leftover cabbage (around 350 grams)
1 tablespoon of leftover pork fat OR half a tablespoon each groundnut oil and sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon nice vinegar (red wine, white wine or apple cider)
Salt and black pepper


Frying pan with a lid
Knife and chopping board
Measuring spoons


About half an hour to prep and mix


If necessary, cut your leftover cabbage into quarters
Cut out the stalk by placing on the diagonal
Cut into chunks around 1cm wide


Heat the fat/oils in the frying pan until quite hot
Add the cabbage and let it sear (go a bit brown) but don’t let it burn
After about 3-4 minutes when the sides are browned, sprinkle over the vinegar and place the lid on the pan
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Season well with salt and pepper

Storage/further meals

This is best eaten fresh, if possible
But, if you can’t eat it all, allow to cool to room temperature then cover
Keep to up to 5 days in your fridge

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