Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy St. Paddy's Day - Corned Beef & Cabbage

I have to admit it up front. Corned beef and cabbage isn't Irish. Well, Gaelic Irish, that is.

Irish immigrants who came to America were more accustomed -- when they could afford it, that is -- to eating bacon with their cabbage and potatoes. However, in the U.S., bacon was anything but cheap. Instead the American Irish turned to something their Jewish neighbors were more familiar with: corned beef.
   And that is how corned beef became associated with cabbage. See, it is still Irish -- just the American version of the dish!


You'll need:
1 package frozen corned beef brisket (whatever's cheapest -- the point cut is generally the best price). I generally get about 4 pounds -- and look for the leanest cut possible
1 small head cabbage
1-2 onions
1 carrot per person (if you like your corned beef a little sweeter - I'll often leave these out)
1 1/2 potatoes per person

Let the corned beef thaw, or loosen it up by running it 3 min. in the microwave. (I don't always remember to leave it out the night before.) Cut away as much fat as possible, then dump it in the bottom of a crockpot. Break open the package of pickling spices that comes with the corned beef, and sprinkle it on...then add enough water to cover.
Slice cabbage thin, chop onions. Wash and trim carrots. Dump these in on top of the corned beef. Cook approx. 6 hours on low. Stir up, mixing veggies with corned beef slabs, then add potatoes (cut in half or thirds) for the last 1- 1 1/2 hours more of cooking (8 hours total, though can go as long as 10 or 12 with no problem.) OR boil potatoes separately for approx. 20-30 min. (The smaller you cut them, the faster they'll cook.)

Slice or chunk the corned beef. Serve each person a plate with mashed boiled potato, 1 carrot, spoonful of onions/cabbage, with the corned beef arranged on the side. Pour a little of the juice over to act as 'gravy.' Enjoy! Just as good -- or better -- the next day.

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