We’re just days away from St. Patrick’s Day now! Our green clothing has been starched and ironed and my iPod is loaded with my favorite bagpipe tunes. Ok… so, I admit there are no bagpipe tunes on my iPod and I’ve never actually starched a shirt. But, we are ready for our day o’ green! Everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day, so polish your step-dancing shoes, tuck a shamrock behind your ear, and celebrate in Irish style!
When it comes to selecting an Irish meal for St. Patty’s Day, it doesn’t get any more traditional than a boiled corned beef and cabbage dinner. Corned beef seems to be one of those divisive meals. People tend to fall into one of two corned beef camps; the lovers and the haters. You can call me president of the club for corned beef lovers! I love it prepared as a classic corned beef and cabbage meal and I love every possible incarnation of corned beef leftovers that follows.
Over the years, I’ve prepared corned beef in a number of different ways. I’ve tried the slow-cooker method. I’ve baked it. I’ve braised it. I love it no matter how you prepare it, but in my stubborn Irish opinion, I firmly believe that boiled is best. On top of producing an incredibly tender brisket, the added bonus is that it couldn’t be any simpler to prepare. It’s a full meal, boiled in a pot.
Enjoy your boiled Irish dinner with a fresh slice of Irish soda bread and a tall glass of your favorite Irish libation. Have one for me while you’re at it!
Boiled Irish Dinner
Corned Beef with Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots
- 1 Corned Beef Brisket
- Carrots, peeled and chopped (or substitute baby carrots)
- Red potatoes, chopped
- 1 head of cabbage, cut into wedges
Place the corned beef brisket in a large pot. Sprinkle with the packet of seasoning included with the brisket. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the brisket. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3-4 hours, until fork tender. Add the cut potatoes and carrots to the pot during the last 20 minutes of cooking time and the cabbage during the last 15 minutes. Remove the corned beef from the water and cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting against the grain. Remove the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to serve on the side.
Corned Beef Tip #1 - Remove excess exterior fat before slicing and serving for a more appetizing presentation.
Corned Beef Tip #2 – Your tender corned beef is likely to fall apart while you slice it. This works fine when served as a corned beef dinner, but if you’d prefer to thinly slice the brisket for sandwiches, allow the corned beef to cool in the refrigerator before slicing and reheating. Cooled corned beef slices easier than hot corned beef.
Irish soda bread makes the perfect accompaniment to a boiled Irish dinner. Soda bread is in the family of breads known as quick breads. It’s a no-yeast-required bread, which gets its rise from the reaction between baking soda and acidic buttermilk. It can be prepared with or without caraway seeds, raisins, or other dried fruits. My personal preference is seed-free, but loaded with raisins, served slightly warm with a generous smear of butter.
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter. Stir in the raisins. Stir in the buttermilk and egg until a sticky dough begins to form. Once the dough becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead the dough until well blended. If the dough is still too sticky to handle, add up to 1/4 cup additional flour. Form the dough into a round loaf and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a knife to cut an ‘X’ in the top of the loaf. Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.