It’s recipe Friday again today and for today’s post, I want to share with you the recipes I use for my St. Patrick’s Day meal for my own family, the infamous Corned Beef and cabbage and then Irish Soda Bread. Now this last year, I had heard that corned beef was not Irish at all and in fact, not eaten by the Irish at all until the emigrants to the United States adopted it from the Jewish community as a cheap replacement for their traditional bacon.
However, when I went hunting on the internet today to get a source for this factoid, it turns out THAT isn’t true either. According to a food history site, the Irish in County Cork canned corned beef for over 200 years and the Napoleonic army marched on canned Cork corned beef. But, the fact they canned it apparently doesn’t mean they ate it. It really isn’t a popular dish there and certainly not a traditional meal for St. Patrick’s Day; instead they typically eat “bacon” and cabbage (remember that means ham and cabbage). Interestingly enough, even though it falls during Lent, they were able to eat meat on that day, since it is a religious holiday. That probably made it even more of a marvelous holiday for the Irish through the years.
In any case, it’s definitely an American tradition to eat corned beef for the holiday and I’m going to share recipes for that today. If you want more traditional, true Irish food, just check some of the other recipes I’ve shared in the past. I’m going to share the recipes I have used for 25 years and then a couple more modern approaches toward corned beef and cabbage, as well as a white and a wheat soda bread. We usually also have potatoes and I won’t worry about sharing a recipe for that — you can either bake them, boil them, or mash them depending on your own preference. I was desperately trying to remember what I usually serve for dessert and couldn’t think of anything. I think because we usually have this dinner right before or right after the day of our party, we usually just eat leftover dessert or stuff we have made ahead of time. So you’re on your own for dessert.
Here we go: Susannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef
- 3-4 lb corned beef brisket
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp wholepeppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
Put beef into big pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Add chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove beef to a baking dish. Mix together 3 Tbsp mustard, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and pour over beef. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing. Right before it’s done, boil a quartered head of cabbage and sliced, peeled potatoes in a pot of salted water.
New-Fangled Easy Corned Beef from Paula Deen
- 4 pieces bacon
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can corned beef
Cook the bacon in a pot until almost crisp, then remove from pot and drain on a paper towel. Add butter to the pot and mix with the bacon grease. Toss the cabbage into the pot and stir, coating the cabbage in fat. Then add 1/3 cup of water and salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot with lid and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, adding more water if necessary to keep cabbage from burning. Meanwhile, chop the bacon into pieces. Remove the lid the pot and scatter chunks of the corned beef and the bacon on top of the cabbage, cover again and cook until the cabbage is almost done, but with still a bit of crunch.
Irish Soda Bread with White Flour
- 3 c flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 c butter
- 1 c buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 c raisins
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda. Cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine buttermilk and egg, add to flour mixture and stir just until mixed. Then add raisins. Dump out of bowl onto a heavily floured board and knead until mixture forms a ball. Put on a greased baking sheet and form into a 7-inch circle. With a sharp knife, cut an X in the top of the bread. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes. Cool, slice, and serve with whipped butter and orange marmalade, if desired.
Irish Soda Bread with Wheat Flour
- 4-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 cup white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2-1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, lightly oil a baking sheet. Stir together the flours, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a bowl. Then add buttermilk and raisins, stir just until mixed. Shape the dough into a round and put onto the sheet, then cut the X across the top. Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool before slicing. Serve with butter and orange marmalade if desired.
All right. There are a couple of variations on the traditional meal for March 17th. If neither of these appeal to you, there are plenty of other variations available on the web or in just about any cookbook. Go ahead and try one this year. It might just become an annual tradition.