Friday, February 24, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Time to get your Irish on again

Once again I'm updating an old post about St. Patrick's Day. The Irish side of my family took this holiday very seriously. We even marched in the City of Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade for a couple of years until we had to give up our parade position to some more politicians, most of whom were not even Irish. If you've never done Chicago in the winter they dye the river green as well as the beer. If you come in March you'll want to bring a heavy coat because it gets pretty cold in the windy city. 
St. Patrick's almost always gave mom a break from cooking, so that we could enjoy a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner away from home. There were a few restaurants where we enjoyed their corned beef and cabbage. Like most holidays, I always enjoyed cooking and eating at home. Cooking at home always meant that we would have left-over's for the next day, which almost always involved a Reuben sandwich, or corned beef on rye with Swiss cheese. In most cases there was still enough left over for corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast.
New England Boiled Dinner
I really first learned that corned beef and cabbage was not a traditional Irish meal brought over from Ireland until I was married. My wife had been cooking since the age of twelve and corned beef and cabbage was something that she made often. In her family it was called a "New England Boiled Dinner." My mother gave my wife one of the best compliments a daughter-in-law could get. Every year we would bring her a homemade corned beef and cabbage New England Boiled Dinner. My mother told her that she made it better than anyone in the family. What a compliment
Mom's Corned Beef and Cabbage to go

Other than corned beef and cabbage dinner. Mom just loved a Reuben sandwich, or a corned beef on rye.    
Corned Beef on Rye
Last year my daughter told me that a friend of hers made a corned beef brisket, using a recipe that uses Guinness Beer for the liquid.  My daughter, who normally doesn't care for corned beef loved this version better than ours. The Guinness recipe (found on the internet) was oven baked. I wanted to use a slow cooker so I combined both recipes and had a very delicious St. Pat's dinner. So grab a couple of recipes and get your Irish on.
You might even get lucky
3-5 lb. Corned beef brisket
1 whole Bay leaf
4 whole Cloves
10 whole Black peppercorns
2 Tbsp. White vinegar
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 cloves Garlic (smashed)
2 tsp. Salt
2 stalks Celery
6 whole Carrots, peeled, quartered
6 small. Onions, outer skin removed
8 small Red potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 small Rutabaga, peeled and quartered (optional)
1 head Cabbage, cut into wedges

Depending on the size of the brisket, it should take about 45 minutes per pound to cook. Remove the brisket from the packaging and rinse it off. Place the brisket into a Dutch oven or stock pot that is large enough to accommodate the brisket and all of the vegetables. Cover with water to an inch or so above the brisket. Add the vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, salt, garlic, and celery. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, place a top on the pot and simmer for 2 hours. Occasionally check the pot to be sure it is not boiling. If there is any foam on top of the water, skim with a slotted spoon.     
At the end of 2 hours, add the onions, potatoes, rutabaga, and carrots to the water and then recover. Add boiled hot water to cover the vegetables (not from the sink). Turn up the stove and bring to boil, then lower to simmer. Add the cabbage on top of all the vegetables and cover. Watch so that the water does not boil. After about 45 minutes, check the vegetables for doneness by inserting a fork into them. When they are tender, transfer from the pot to large bowl, cover with foil and keep in a warm oven. The celery, bay leaf and garlic cloves are in the pot for their flavor and will be discarded. The corned beef is done when it can be pierced easily with a fork and fall off the fork when you pull out. Cut the brisket across the grain into thin slices. Arrange vegetables around the beef. Serve with horseradish, mustard or your favorite sauce. Enjoy!

Erin go Bragh
© TMelle 1998-2012

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