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It’s March and that means it’s Irish-American Heritage Month! And what better way to celebrate than with an “authentic” dish that may not be traditionally Irish, but is definitely Irish-American: Corned Beef and Cabbage. This meal is really easy to prepare and for any of you amateur chefs out there, it’s REALLY tough to overcook, so give it a try! By the way, don’t you hate it when you go to get a recipe online and you have to skip through a hundred pages of meaningless, self-important blather from the blogger before you can get to the recipe?  Here at CCPL, we don’t do that.  We get right to the recipes!

But first let us find out all about the history of corned beef, why we love it so much, it’s personal relevance, and the manifold potentials for the leftovers…

Just kidding–a little corned humor!

Now, shall we start with ingredients?

Ingredients 

  • 1 corned beef: Tip or flat, your preference (if you don’t know what you prefer, the flat is usually a little more expensive, but it is leaner and probably slightly more delicious).

  • 1 head of cabbage: green, washed, and it into wedges

  • Potatoes: gold, red, or if you want to get fancy, splurge on a bag of baby taters in assorted colors—if your potatoes aren’t bite sized, cut them into manageable pieces. You will likely want between twenty and thirty pieces. Otherwise, a small bag of baby potatoes should do it.

  • 1 small bag of baby carrots

Directions

Now, get cooking because Corned Beef can take a few hours, depending on how big it is.

You are going to need to find a pot big enough to hold the meat, and later the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, so plan ahead when choosing.

Step 1: Cut open the corned beef package, drain it, and don’t lose the pickling spice in the plastic bag inside. Rinse the beef.

Step 2: Put the beef in the pot with the fat cap facing up (this is the lightest pink part of the meat). Cover it with water. Sometimes the fat layer makes the beef want to float. That’s okay. Just use a lid and you will be just fine.

Step 3: Bring the water to a steady boil and then reduce the heat and simmer (simmer is like a baby boil or a barely boil, if you didn’t know). Simmer the beef for 50 minutes per pound.  Once you have about 35 minutes or so remaining, proceed to step 4.

Step 4: When your beef has about 35 minutes left, add the potatoes and carrots.  Add some water if needed to cover everything. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then return to a simmer. With about 15 minutes remaining proceed to step 5.

Step 5: When you’ve got 15 minutes left, add your cabbage.  Again make sure there is enough liquid for everything, bring it to a boil, and then simmer it for the remaining time.   

Step 6: Once everything is nice and tender, pull the beef from the pot and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to cool (this will make it easier to cut). Cut it a quarter inch or less thick against the grain. The grain should be visible from the underside of the meat. Serve your vegetables on the side.  You might also want a little side of horseradish for added flavor.  

The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich

For some added authenticity, you can make your corned beef from scratch using a piece of beef brisket.  Here is a book that shows how.  Note: this will take over a week, so if it’s St. Patrick’s Day as you read this, it’s already too late.

Also you might want a little soda bread too:  These two books have recipes.

Paul Hollywood’s Bread by Paul Hollywood

Making Bread at Home by Jane Mason