Monday, March 13

Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage

A traditional St. Patrick's Day dish I make every year. 
But first, what is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is made from a beef brisket that is cured or pickled in Brine. Brine is salt water.

In North America, corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, there is considerable debate about the association of the corned beef and cabbage dish with Ireland.

In the 1800's, corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish-American immigrants because it was cheap and considered a luxury in Ireland. Corned beef and cabbage is really the Irish-American version of the Irish dish of bacon and cabbage.

Wait, bacon and cabbage?!?!  Well, now that's on my list to make!

My son and his girlfriend waiting for the St. Patrick's Day parade

The Irish and Corned Beef
The Irish did produce a salted beef around the Middle Ages that was the "forerunner of what we today know as Irish corned beef" and in the 17th century the English named the Irish salted beef "corned beef."
And Ireland did produce a significant amount of corned beef that was sold and traded to other countries from local Irish raised cattle and imported salt. Coastal cities, such as Dublin, Belfast, and Cork, created massive beef curing and packing industries, with Cork producing half of Ireland's annual beef exports by 1668. But most Irish did not eat the corned beef produced in Ireland because it was way too expensive.


Some historians say it was not until the wave of 18th century Irish immigration to the United States that much of the ethnic Irish first began to consume the corned beef dishes we know today.
In today's Ireland, the serving of corned beef is geared toward tourist consumption and most Irish in Ireland do not identify corned beef dishes as a native cuisine.

Colcannon (boiled new potatoes mixed with boiled cabbage, leeks or onions, with added butter, milk and garlic) is more likely to be considered Ireland's national dish. Or possibly even Irish Stew. 

Click for info on St. Patrick's Day History

Tips and Suggestions:
  • You can add everything in the pot at once including the cabbage if you're going to be gone all day.
  • Carrots are optional and many times I do not add them.
  • Buying the brisket with the spice package is the easiest way to make this dish.
  • You can add a stout beer in place of the water, but I preferred water (and butter).

Typical package of corned beef 

Irish American Corned Beef and Cabbage

3 lbs corned beef brisket (plus the spice packet)
½ C. water
½ stick butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 head cabbage, cut into wedges
4 to 6 medium potatoes, halved or quartered
Small pkg baby carrots or chopped carrots (optional)

Choose a nice round green head of cabbage

Add water and cubed butter to the crock post.  Set crock pot temperature on high. 
Rinse off the corned beef brisket (if spice is packaged separately) and then place in a crock pot. Sprinkle the spice packet over the brisket. Add onion and garlic, potatoes and carrots.
Cook 2 hours on high temperature then reduce heat and cook 4 to 6 more hours.
While corned beef is cooking, stir a couple times to mix all ingredients with the spices.

Cut cabbage into wedges and remove core

1 to 2 hours before serving, wash cabbage and then cut into 4 to 6 wedge pieces. Cut out cabbage core. Pull apart wedges and place pieces in the crock pot. Even with a larger crock pot, the pot will be crowded. That's OK, the cabbage cooks down pretty fast. 

Stir all ingredients and cabbage together as cabbage cooks. 
Cook for 1 to 2 more hours or until cabbage is wilted and tender.
Serve in a large bowl with a side of horseradish sauce and a stout beer,  if desired.


A good combination on St. Patrick's Day

My daughter on St Patrick's Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day, may the luck of the Irish be with you always,


Other Posts:

Me and St. Patrick at the Irish Family Reunion

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