Corned Beef & Cabbage
It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! I love food holidays and traditions, and this is exactly where it started for me. I have lots of Irish within me and it’s nice to have a day to celebrate it with everyone. Now, full disclosure right off the bat, Corned Beef and Cabbage isn’t really Irish. At all. But it is, for better or worse, entirely associated with this particular holiday. Fortunately it’s absolutely delicious and a meal I quite honestly look forward to all year long. I know I could make it more often, but that would kind of cheapen it. There’s something special about having it just once a year that makes it even better than it normally would be.
My family has eaten corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day for as long as I can remember. Whether it was at my grandparents’ house, at home, or even flying out to Boston so my brother could cook it while he was in college, it’s a must for me. When I moved out on my own I made sure to keep the tradition alive and have made the meal for quite a few different people now (some of whom had never experienced it before, a particular pleasure for me).
Obviously the 17th of March means a lot to me. It reminds me of all the years that I’ve spent with good friends and family eating a wonderful meal and creating good memories. In fact, last year a friend was visiting for St. Patrick’s Day and while the food was cooking we went for a walk and happened across Bill Clinton giving a speech! A few years before that Molly and I found out about a culinary school near us giving a demo and tasting of St. Patrick’s Day foods. For free. Obviously we signed up immediately and learned about and subsequently ate some fantastic food. You may remember Molly mentioned the wonderful and delicious colcannon.
So enjoy this holiday. Make some of your own memories. Have the corned beef, the cabbage, the potatoes and carrots. Eat some soda bread with some jam or marmalade on it. Maybe even drink a Guinness or two. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
Corned Beef & Cabbage
- 3-4lb Corned Beef (package)
- 2 large Onions (quartered)
- 3 Carrots (chopped)
- 2 stalks Celery (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon Peppercorns
- 1/2 tablespoon Mustard Seed
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 5 cloves Garlic (peeled)
- 1 head Cabbage (cut into wedges)
- 5 Carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 3 Potatoes (peeled and halved)
Taking all the ingredients except the meat out of the pot may seem odd, but stick with me here. The onion, carrot, and celery added at the beginning helps to impart some aromatic flavors into the meat. However, they will be horribly overcooked by the time everything is all ready. By taking them out and then adding fresh carrots and potatoes, you ensure everything is cooked just the right amount of time. Alternatively, you could leave them all in the pot the whole time and just start a secondary pot for your extra veggies. Cooking them in with the meat does give them all sorts of wonderful flavor, though.
|Take the corned beef, first three carrots, onion, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and mustard seed and put them into a large, deep pot. Add enough water to cover everything by two to three inches. If a spice packet came with the corned beef, open that and add it to the pot as well.|
|Simmer gently for three hours. Remove everything but the corned beef and water.|
|Add the new peeled carrots and simmer another hour.|
|Add the potato and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.|
|Add the cabbage and simmer 15 minutes or until everything is tender.|