Corned Beef and Cabbage and other St. Patricks Day celebration meals

Traditional corned beef and cabbage.

Preparing your own traditional Irish meal, like corned beef and cabbage, is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Image from Flickr.

St. Patrick’s Day is  Wednesday. Are you hoping to make the Irish-American traditional corned beef and cabbage, or are you looking for some more traditional recipes for this St. Paddy’s Day? No matter how you are planning to celebrate, you shouldn’t have to contact a payday lender – Irish fare can be very quick and inexpensive to prepare.

Corned Beef and Cabbage – the Irish-American Tradition

Look at just about any celebratory menu for St. Patrick’s Day, and you’re likely to see a corned beef and cabbage special. Corned beef is simply a brine (salt and sugar water) cured beef, usually made of the brisket cut of the cow. Corned beef did not actually originate in Ireland, where beef and salt were an incredibly rare and expensive delicacy. The various Irish famines also made it very difficult to raise cows, which would have consumed much of the grain that Irish families could eat themselves.

However, when Irish citizens began to immigrate to the United States, they discovered that beef and salt were much less expensive than the bacon joints they used in their traditional dishes – and took a cue from Jewish immigrants on how to prepare this dish. Since the 1800s, Corned Beef and Cabbage has become the Irish-American version of the original Bacon and Cabbage.

Corning your own beef for corned beef dishes

You can purchase corned beef in packages, especially around St. Patrick’s day. Rather than spending the $4.99 a pound that corned beef usually costs, however, you can save yourself from getting payday loans with a credit check by corning your own beef. It will take a few extra days, so you will need to start today to have it ready by St. Patrick’s day. You will need:

  • A 4-6 pound beef brisket, which you can usually find for $1.50 a pound or less
  • 2 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 16 cups (1 gallon) water

First, trim the fat on the beef down to about 1/4 of an inch or so. Rub the meat with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the salt, covering it in a single layer. Press the garlic, pickling spices, peppercorns and bay leaf into the salt rub. Set the meat into a large container, either a flat dish or bowl that can easily hold the gallon of water.

In a large pot, boil the gallon of water with the remaining salt and sugar. Stir the boiling mixture until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Pour this brine over the meat. Weigh down the meat with a heavy plate, and cover the container. Set it in the back of your fridge for 2-5 days. At the end of the 2-5 days, pull the meat out of the brine and rinse the meat.

Preparing corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day

If you would like to stick to corned beef and cabbage as your meal-of-choice this holiday, you’ve got several options for cooking it. The easiest thing to do for a working family is cook your corned beef and cabbage in a crockpot. Take a large crockpot and layer a sliced medium onion, a pound of sliced carrots, a pound or two of sliced red potatoes, and a whole (about 4 pound) corned beef brisket. Fill the crockpot with water or beef broth, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

If you’ve got a bit more time, try pan-roasting the beef brisket. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a heavy frying pan until it’s very hot. Sear the meat on all sides, using a BBQ fork or meat fork to turn the brisket. When the brisket is done (use a thermometer to read the internal temperature – 140 degrees is done), set it aside and cover it with foil. Slice a whole head of cabbage and saute it in the still-hot pan for 2-5 minutes, or until soft.

More traditional dishes for St. Patrick’s Day

If you’ve gotten a little sick of corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick’s Day, you might want to try a few other Irish dishes to celebrate this year. Soups are a traditional option, as they were usually very easy to make, and helped stretch out ingredients to serve even more people. Parsnip and Apple soup is a great traditional, yet unusual option. Irish Potato Soup (or really, any potato soup) is thick, comforting, and perfect for a cold March day. Irish Soda Bread is also a quick-to-make and incredibly tasty match for whatever meal you may choose to make this St. Patrick’s Day. No matter what you decide to make, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day could never be tastier!

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