In my family, even before we knew we had quite a bit of Irish blood running through us, St. Patricks Day was always Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner, always! I had naively assumed that Corned Beef was a deeply, cherished tradition from the Emerald Isle. Come to find out, beef was hard to come by, so that was just a tall tale and you know the Irish can spin a tale! It has however, become an Irish-American tradition, but it did not start in Ireland as many assume. The Irish had access to sheep of course, so typically a leg of lamb, shepherd’s pie, fish, soda bread and of course potatoes were and still are the normal celebratory custom.
As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction! –Irish Blessing
Get ready, I am going all history class on you now. St. Patricks Day, also known as Feast Day (I can get behind that!). It is a celebration to honor one of Irelands patron saints, St. Patrick. He was born Maewyn Succat, in the 4th century, in Roman Britain and eventually changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest. He was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. Before his death, he established, schools, churches, spread the word of Christianity and other do-gooder “stuff” for the people of Ireland, hence the patron saint title and a celebration of his good works……..and he wasn’t even Irish, he was a Brit!
You may be asking yourself, what in the world does all this have to do with Corned Beef and Cabbage and what the heck is that weird looking piece of meat anyway? Well, it is a cut of beef brisket, tough as a boot to eat and has nothing to do with corn. It is a name given because large grains of salt used to cure meat are known as “corns.” It is cured in a salty brine with various other spices and cooked at a low temp, using moist-heat, for quite a few hours to become fork tender. It is most commonly served with cabbage and various root vegetables, the most popular being potatoes.
I have successfully cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage many different ways over the years, but I did try a method once that I will just call, “fancy pants” and messed that recipe up something bad! On that night, we ended up having the above mentioned “boot” for dinner. You win some and you lose some! Mostly though, if you follow the low and slow, moist-heat method, it is next to impossible to mess this up.
This particular recipe calls for you to brown your Corned Beef first, then place it above a small amount of water. The pan I chose to roast this in, is one I do not have a rack for. An easy work around for this or anything else you need to elevate above a liquid, is to form medium sized balls of foil, place those in the bottom of the roasting pan. Make enough so when the meat is placed upon it, it seems stable and not likely to fall off its foil perch. When your meat is cooked, just toss the foil balls in the trash! Easy Peasy!
Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 1 3.5-5 pound Corned Beef size can vary
- 2 Tablespoon browning sauce (Kitchen Bouquet)
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 1 med onion, sliced
- 4 Tablespoon water
- 4 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 head of cabbage sliced into 6 wedges
- salt and pepper to taste
- Take Corned Beef out of package, remove and throw away any additional spice packets enclosed and rinse the corned beef.
- Brush corned beef with browning sauce on all sides.
- Then place the beef into a hot skillet with small amount of vegetable oil and brown for 5 minutes a side, then place onto rack in roasting pan. **If you do not have a rack, use foil ball method, as described in post**
- Slice onions and garlic and place on top of corned beef
- Add water to pan, then place a large piece of foil or two over the roasting pan, seal tightly.
- Place corned beef into an oven preheated to 275 degrees until tender, which is about 5-1/2-6 hours. **Resist the temptation to lift foil and check on meat, leave it sealed for at least 5 hours before checking***
Pan Roasted Cabbage
- Cut head of cabbage into 6 wedges. Carefully place wedges into a large skillet with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and fry util browned. Very carefully turn cabbage to brown both sides.
- Place approximately 1/2 cup of water into pan with cabbage, turn to med-low and place tight fitting lid onto skillet and let cabbage cook for 15-20 or tender. Serve with corned beef
Corned Beef and Cabbage is the staple St. Patty’s Day meal in my house and I serve it with potatoes. What differs, is how I prepare the sides dishes from year to year. Sometimes the cabbage is fried with bacon and onions, sometimes sautéed in butter and sprinkled with caraway or made into cabbage steaks or wedges. The potatoes can be roasted in the oven or boiled and then sautéed in butter or mashed into a pot of garlic, creamy, goodness. I often accompany that with either homemade Beer Bread or Soda Bread to round things out. However you choose to celebrate this St. Patricks Day, I hope it involves good food, friends and family. ENJOY!
We love our yearly family celebrations! Does your family have a traditional meal it serves every year like we do Corned Beef and Cabbage?