Swamp Cabbage Stew

See the RecipeSarah Karnasiewicz

This recipe is based on one in Ernest Matthew Mickler's White Trash Cookery (Ten Speed Press, 1986), a paean to regional Floridian cuisine that is filled with Southern gems like this swamp cabbage stew. Cooks who don't have access to real swamp cabbage—the heart of the young sabal palmetto, which grows in the central part of Florida—may substitute canned hearts of palm.

Swamp Cabbage Stew
Real swamp cabbage is the heart of the young sable palmetto, but you can substitute canned hearts of palm instead.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick-cut slab bacon
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 (18-oz.) can hearts of palm, drained and cut into 1/4" slices
  • 1 (14-oz.) can crushed tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 14 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. Heat a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until the fat renders and the bacon is golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Discard all but 3 tbsp. of the rendered bacon fat.
  2. Add onions and hearts of palm to the skillet and cook until they begin to brown, 5–10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, thyme, sugar, and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, until the flavors meld, about 15–20 minutes. Serve spooned on rice, with bacon crumbled over top.