Mine is a variation of Emeril Lagasse's recipe and ever since I tried it, I've never made regular cabbage again. Don't just save it for St. Patrick's day, it's also great for New Year's Day parties or any time of year.
Of course, you can omit the bacon and heavy cream and use olive oil and low fat milk instead for a healthier version.
Remove bruised and dirty outside leaves from the cabbage, and the stem then rinse well. Quarter, chop or shred the cabbage based on your preference. I like it coarsely chopped or quartered.
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
To the bacon drippings stir in the onions, celery, bell pepper and cook until the onions start to get soft, about 4 minutes. Stir to keep onions from getting brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Reduce the heat to low, add the ham, cabbage, carrots and potatoes, salt & pepper, stir it all together, then pour syrup or honey over everything. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the beer and cover, continue to cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you like your cabbage shredded, it will cook quickly, so add it about 5-10 after adding the beer.)
Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Add the heavy cream, stir well, cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Crumble bacon and stir into cabbage. Taste again and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
*Tip: If you like your cabbage very crisp, or very wilted, adjust your cooking time. For crisp cabbage add your potatoes and carrots with the sauteed vegetables to get them started. Enjoy!