The Unorthodox Epicure — A new New Year’s tradition? (Recipe: Mexican-style Beef w/ Cabbage)

There are a few New Year’s traditions that I’ve just never been able to stomach: watching a ball being lowered, resolutions and black eyed peas.

In fact, I’ve long despised black-eyed peas about as much as I do fruitcake or sweet tea … That is, until my friend Shea Goldstein came up with this little gem.

When it comes to New Year’s Day, my boyhood family had a tradition of eating Mexican food – often on TV trays – as we watched college bowl games. Our dishes were really Tex-Mex — beef enchiladas, tamales, chips and homemade salsa along with a pot of bacon-infused pintos and a dish of tomatoey rice.

When Shea, of Dixie Chik Cooks, challenged me to come up with something a little more traditional for first day vittles, I asked her to do the same — with the Holland family tradition in mind.

Her Salsa Verde Refried Black Eyed Peas on Mini Jalapeno White Cheddar Cornbread Muffins is so spot on, even a longtime black eyed pea hater like myself can’t deny its deliciousness.

It’s widely believed (in the U.S. South) that black eyed peas bring great luck in a new year. Cabbage and other greens have the same reputation. Fortunately, our friends in Mexico figured that out a long time ago.

Versions of my following recipe are quite common in many regions of Mexico. Sure, corn is the cash crop, but cabbage is also economical and very readily available. Eat this dish atop a bed of steamed rice or on a crispy tortilla. Either way, I prefer to add some chiltepin hot sauce to mine once it’s on a plate in front of me.

As for the resolutions and that ball, even black eyed peas gone Tex-Mex aren’t enough to make me change my position. Be sure to check out our New Year’s face-off in Southern Holiday Life magazine. Meanwhile, may your 2016 be healthy and fruitful.

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Mexican-style Beef w/ Cabbage

Mexican-style Beef w/ Cabbage — Good for New Year’s Day … and the rest of the year.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Mexican style Beef w/ Cabbage
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 2 TB – Bacon fat, or vegetable oil
  • 1 – Small onion, diced
  • 1 – Jalapeño chile, chopped
  • 1 – Medium tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb – Ground beef, preferably something lean (90/10 round or sirloin)
  • 2 tsp – Chile powder, preferably ancho
  • 2 tsp – Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp – Black pepper
  • ½ cup – Vegetable or beef stock
  • 3 cups – Cabbage, shredded
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  1. In a deep skillet, heat the bacon fat (or oil) over a medium setting.
  2. Add onion and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, jalapeño, tomato, chile powder, salt and black pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring regularly, until tomato juice has all but evaporated (you'll hear the fat/oil popping), about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add ground beef; crumbling as it cooks.
  6. When beef is no longer pink, add the stock, cabbage and cilantro.
  7. Turn heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is wilted and most of stock has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat. Season as desired to taste. Garnish with pumpkin seeds if desired.





  1. Yay your New Year’s recipe! Sadly I never made it after you gave it to me due to unforeseen circumstances (I guess that is called life). NOW. I am so chagrined to see you don’t LURVE the revered legume of Texas!!! SHOCKED I am. However, follower #14 forgives you and will remain a loyal minion. xoxo

    • adamjholland says:

      What can I say, Kathryn? I love cream crowders and lady creams. I can even eat my weight in pintos (the green bean type -or- the dried). I appreciate you remaining a loyal minion. In fact, I really like the sound of that! 😉 Happy 2016!

  2. My goodness, you and Shea always make the most tasty looking stuff……….at least to my taste. I cannot tell you how many of your recipes I have made over and over…… fact, just last week I made your Tex Mex Rice for my daughter to take to “Mexican Food Day” at work. They ate it all – and it makes a bunch. Since I’m headed to the store tomorrow I’ll be picking up some cabbage – I already have my black eyed peas.

    • adamjholland says:

      You always flatter me, Kelli. Thank you. As for Shea, please be careful complimenting her because she already has the big head. 😉 Happy 2016 to you and all the folks at Yum Goggle!

  3. Your beef & cabbage dish looks spectacular, Adam — full of color and flavor! Actually, I’m thinking those mini corn muffins with refried black-eyed peas would be a great side for it. (Then again, I happen to like black-eyed peas!) Happy New Year from North of the border. 🙂

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Kim. I hope all is well on the other side of the Red River and that 2016 is your best year ever! 🙂

  4. Happy New Year to you Adam. I love your Mexican Cabbage skillet. And you brought back memories of eating on those TV trays.

    • adamjholland says:

      Happy 2016 to you too Lea Ann! May your selfies be self-centered and your chicos as sweet as can be. 😉

  5. Made a beef version and a veg-based crumble version. Both turned out very well. Nice to do something a little different and very easy.

    • adamjholland says:

      Those crumbles aren’t so bad. In fact, there are a couple of brands that are really close to the real thing.

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