corned beef and cabbage

One of my childhood memories is the eating of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. My mother would boil them all together, which left them (in my opinion) a bit tough. The monochromatic flavor also had me wondering what the heck the Irish were thinking to make this their traditional saint’s day meal. Fast forward ten years and a friend takes me to her culinary school for a Patty’s day dinner. The cabbage is still boiled, as are the potatoes but the corned beef is cooked in apple cider, giving it a sweeter flavor and the vegetables are doused in butter, making them far yummier than the cabbage and potatoes of my youth. I began to use those recipes for my own cooking to honor the 17th. Eaten only once a year this meal is delightful, if a bit unhealthy.

A few years ago I found yet another way to enjoy my corned beef: the corned beef sandwich. We hadn’t eaten these growing up and when I was in a deli everything else just sounded better so I never wound up ordering them. That changed when it was the special of the day at a diner offering nothing else that interested me. The sandwich was served on rye with sauerkraut and pepperjack cheese. I loved it. I now serve this at home, though I use sourdough or Tuscan bread as opposed to rye. I’ve also expanded my cabbage knowledge to include a simple recipe for cabbage and apples . I substitute Splenda for sugar, which still leaves this side dish sweet and flavorful. Irish soda bread is another great addition to the meal. Most stores carry it around this time of year but I sometimes use a simple recipe to make it. I tend to love anything with raisins and this bread is no exception.

What’s a meal without a desert? There are tons of recipes using Irish liqueor to spice up cheesecake or whiskey to spice up darn near anything but these are not favorites with my boys. I personally love pistachio pudding dessert. A simpler favorite which pleases the kids is a white cake with green dye and white frosting with just a touch of peppermint extract. This Taste of Home Pistachio Cake Recipe is delicious as well. Of course any of these taste great served with Irish coffee (8 oz. coffee, a teaspon of whiskey, a teaspon of sugar, and whip cream.) For a non-alcoholic version there is 8 oz. coffee, a teaspoon of sugar, and a teaspon of peppermint extract.

So what about you, do you have a typical St. Patty’s day meal? If so, what? Any great recipes for corned beef or cabbage that you would like to share?

– Maggie AAR

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I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.