Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy Green Beer Day!! For as long as I can remember my family would always have corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. As I was planning my own corned beef dinner I realized didn't know any of the history of this seemingly traditional meal. So over to Wikipedia I went and found this:

"The consumption of corned beef is associated with Saint Patrick's Day, when many Irish Americans eat a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. According to the History Channel, while cabbage is a traditional food item for Irish-Americans, corned beef is not consumed in Ireland - it was originally used as a substitute for bacon by Irish American immigrants in the late 1800s. Irish immigrants living in New York City's Lower East Side sought an equivalent in taste and texture to their traditional Irish bacon, and learned about this cheaper alternative to bacon from their Jewish neighbors. A similar dish is the New England boiled dinner, consisting of corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes, which is popular in New England and parts of Atlantic Canada."

It turns out corned beef and cabbage is much more a traditional New England dinner, than an Irish one. Regardless it will always be something I associate with St. Patrick's Day and this year is my first time making it. I decided to test out a slow cooker version of the corned beef using some spices and Guinness and a side of sauteed green cabbage.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef
serves 4

1 2 lb corned beef
1 cup or more of Guinness
3 Tbsp whole grain mustard
10 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 Tbsp brown sugar

1. If your beef came with a spice packet, discard it, if it came with spices in the package (like mine did) rinse the meat well with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and then rub mustard all over.
2. Pour Guinness into slow cooker, you want enough to come about halfway up the piece of meat. Mix in spices and sugar. Place meat in Guinness mixture and cover.
3. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve with cabbage and potatoes.

Sauteed Cabbage
serves 4

1 medium head of green cabbage
1 large onion - diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
salt & pepper

1. Cut into quarters, take out the hard stalk, and remove the tough outer leaves. Slice each quarter into 1/2 inch ribbons.
2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add oil and butter and heat until butter is melted. Saute onions, salt & pepper in oil and butter until translucent. Add in cabbage, stir to coat with oil and butter, add salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium low and cook covered until tender, approximately 15 minutes.

This was a complete hit with the boy and oh so easy. The cabbage took no more than 25 minutes from prep to plate and the corned beef cooked all day while I was at work. A 30 minute meal if there ever was one. And we have leftovers for sandwiches later in the week, corned beef is the best on soft rye bread with some mustard and Swiss cheese. Perfect paired with an ice cold beer after a long day.

Hope you all have a fabulous St. Patty's Day. Enjoy!


Natashya said...

I love corned beef and cabbage, I must keep an eye out for some corned beef now - you have made me very hungry for it!

Jen H said...

It was a really tasty twist on how my mom usually makes it. If you try it let me know what you think.