My smothered cabbage is a deep, spirit-hugging comfort food meal-in-one, y'all. Cajun trinity veggies, cooked down with garlic, seasoned boneless chicken thighs, sausage, and broth to create a meaty, multi-food dimensional flavored base. Then, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper-studded raw cabbage wilts into the mixture in batches, literally falling apart into tender, juicy lusciousness that feeds up to six straight out of the skillet. Yep and yay...
It's One of Those Slow and Steadies, Y'all...
Smothered cabbage is a traditional Southern dish that includes cooking the raw cruciferous vegetable down until extremely tender with other veggies and meats. The result is a rustic-looking dish with surprisingly sophisticated, complex flavors.
My original, south Louisiana-style version goes heavy on the meat to enable the dish to be served as a stand-alone dinner. This Cajun cabbage skillet also contains a bit of seasoned broth, so you can stretch it even further by serving it over rice or even pasta.
Any way you serve it, I'm absolutely certain that you'll get rave reviews. The depth of flavors in this dish is truly remarkable. And the seasoning that covers the chicken pieces permeates throughout each bite. So, the alternating silky and soft cabbage and browned meat/veggie bites take your taste buds on a roller coaster ride of incredibly unforgettable flavors. Indeed.
- Cabbage is the eponymous star of the show here, y'all. I usually find that two small cored cabbages yield just the right amount of veggies to complement the two types of meat in the dish.
- Chopped boneless skinless chicken thighs and sausage make this smothered cabbage a complete, one-bowl meal. I personally use beef sausage. However, you can use your favorite one in the recipe.
- Cajun trinity veggies and garlic are a must in most of my original takes on traditional south Louisiana recipes. I wouldn't dream of skipping either one of them, as they bring authentic taste and texture to this Sunday dinner dish.
- The roasted red peppers add a fun, festive look to the finished New Orleans-style smothered cabbage recipe. They don't add much flavor to the dish, though. So, feel free to skip them if you don't happen to have any on hand.
- The Cajun seasonings are mixed into the chicken before cooking, and pull the flavors throughout the entire dish.
- Chicken broth works with the natural meat and vegetable juices in this recipe. You can substitute water if you have to, and the recipe should still turn out delicious.
How to Make Smothered Cabbage
Start by sprinkling the Cajun seasonings onto the thighs in a bowl.
Then, pour the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste over the raw cabbage pieces in another bowl. Set both bowls aside.
Now, pour the olive oil and chopped veggies into a deep cast iron skillet or large Dutch oven. Cook, stirring often, until they brown.
Once browned, add the sausage, seasoned chicken thighs, and roasted red bell peppers to the pan. Cook until the meats are browned.
Add the chicken broth to the skillet.
Next, top the mixture with about half of the raw seasoned cabbage.
Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage wilts into the rest of the ingredients.
Finally, add the remaining raw cabbage to the mixture. Cover and cook down until all of the cabbage wilts into the mixture for the second time. Then, turn down the heat and add 15 more minutes to the cooking time so that all of the flavors of the Cajun smothered cabbage with sausage and chicken combine.
And that's it, y'all!
The soft, sweet smothered cabbage melts right in your mouth. And the marinated chicken thighs and sausage add meaty texture and flavor-injected zest into every spoonful. And the gravy, y'all...There are almost no words to describe its surprisingly incredible, intense depth of flavor.
Share with those who always have an extra special something-something for you every once and a while, too. And see y'all on the yum side...
Cover and store the Cajun smothered cabbage in the fridge for up to three days. This recipe usually doesn't freeze well, as the texture and taste of the cabbage changes quickly once frozen.
Make sure that the sausage and chicken pieces temp up to at least 165 degrees before serving.
Top Smothered Cabbage Cooking Tip
I used my beloved Lodge BOLD skillet to make this recipe. However, I literally have decades of experience cooking cabbage down in standard-sized pans. If you are a novice to this cooking style, then I would strongly suggest that you cook this smothered cabbage in a large cast iron Dutch oven or pot. These vessels will give you enough room to stir the ingredients without any spillage or messes.
Check out some of my other comfort food recipes on the blog.
Note: This post was originally published on January 2, 2019, and updated and republished on August 4, 2023.
For the seasoned chicken
For the Smothered Cabbage
- 2 small heads cabbage, chopped, about 10 cups
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, trimmed and chopped
- 8 ounces beef sausage, sliced then cut-in-half
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth Swanson is gluten free
- additional salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste, optional
- Season the chopped chicken thigh pieces with garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes, and paprika. Set aside.
- Season the chopped cabbage with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Brown the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery in the butter or oil in a large cast iron Dutch oven or pot set over medium-high heat.
- When browned, add the seasoned chicken, sausage, and roasted red peppers to the pot.
- Cook for a few minutes until browned, stirring often.
- When browned, add the garlic to the pot, and cook for 1 additional minute, stirring continuously.
- Turn the heat down to medium.
- Add about half of the raw seasoned cabbage to the top of the mixture in the skillet.
- Cover the pot partially and cook down for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cabbage wilts down into the meats and veggies.
- Add the remaining chopped cabbage to the pot.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until the rest of the cabbage wilts into the mixture.
- When all of the cabbage has incorporated into the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is very, very soft and the chicken and sausage pieces have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
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