Inspiration: At our favorite Irish pub in town, they have a fantastic St. Practice Day on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. We love the pub so much because it has such a dark and cozy Irish atmosphere, and on St. Practice Day they have live Irish music all day long, Irish dancing, bagpipes, and of course lots of great food and drinks (there’s nothing like a fresh Guinness on tap for St. Paddy’s Day, right? And this year I also tried my first ever black and tan!). Anyway, we’ve gone for the past couple of years, and it’s always turns out to be the best day. This year, we met up with a great couple that we keep running into around town, and we had a wonderful afternoon that stretched itself into the night (the best kind of day!). It was truly a fabulous way to kick off our St. Patrick’s Day celebrating! And for the past couple of years, I’ve grown into the habit of making corned beef and cabbage on the Sunday after St. Practice Day. Something about it just seems like a Sunday meal, doesn’t it? And there will be plenty of Irish/Irish-American food to follow in our house for the rest of the week. I truly love this holiday.
What we Loved: I tend to make corned beef and cabbage slightly differently every year, usually by varying the method that I use to cook the vegetables. I’ve simmered the vegetables away in the corned beef stock, mixed them together and roasted them until they were just a little charred in the oven, or cooked them completely on their own using separate recipes, as we did this year. Really, corned beef and cabbage is a great meal no matter how you decide to cook it, so I’ll share what we did this year – and then probably be back next year with something different :)
Thinly sliced cabbage sauteed in plenty of butter is one of our new favorite side dishes any time of the year, because the cabbage ends up so rich, crisp, and buttery. Brandon just loves eating cabbage this way and requests it often, and we’ve both found that it’s our favorite way to enjoy this vegetable. So this year, it was a no-brainer for us to cook our cabbage that way as a part of this great meal. For the carrots this year, I cooked them with butter, salt, and cinnamon, and I really enjoyed those slightly different flavors with the rest of the meal. I thought that cinnamon would pair well with the coriander flavors in the corned beef, and the idea of just a touch of sweetness with this meal was appealing (and successful) as well. And of course, the corned beef was salty and tender like corned beef always is, with just a few pops of coriander and black pepper here and there. I was originally going to make Brandon a horseradish sauce to accompany the corned beef, but he requested that we just eat it plain. And I think that he’s right – it’s really great to just let the flavor of the meat speak for itself. We only poured just a little of the cooking stock over the corned beef and called it a (fantastic and comforting) meal.
Helpful Hints: We buy our corned beef at a specialty market in town, and one of the owners told us a few years ago that when you’re cooking your corned beef, it’s important to make the water as salty as you want the corned beef to be. This means adding a lot more salt than you think is necessary. We have used this trick ever since with fantastic results.
Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Carrots
Source: Original Recipe
For the corned beef
1 corned beef roast, about 3 lbs
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1. Place the corned beef in a pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, and a good handful of coriander seeds. Season to taste with black pepper and Kosher salt (I used about 2 tablespoons).
2. Fill the pot with enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Remove any fat that has risen to the top of the pot with a spoon. Cover and simmer for 3 hours.
3. Remove from the pot, and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve topped with a bit of the cooking stock.
For the cabbage
1 small head green cabbage
1 small leek, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
Chives, to garnish
1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips. Cut the leaves off of the leek, keeping only the white and light green parts. Cut the leek in half vertically, and rinse thoroughly. Slice into thin half-moon slices.
2. Heat the butter in a saute pan. Add the cabbage and leeks, and season well with salt and pepper. Saute until just softened, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Serve garnished with chives.
For the carrots
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rings
1. Place the carrots in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are softened.
2. Drain the water. Add a good pat of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt, to taste. Mix well and serve.