Skip to comments.Corned Beef and Cabbage: As Irish as Spaghetti and Meatballs
Posted on 03/17/2014 5:58:47 AM PDT by Phillyred
The wearing of the green is nearly upon us, and so the season of green beer, bagels and milkshakes has begun. While theres nothing particularly Irish about shamrock-shaped cookies or green-frosted cupcakes, you might be surprised to learn that the traditional St. Paddys mealcorned beef and cabbageis no more authentic. Like many aspects of St. Patricks Day, the dish came about when Irish-Americans transformed and reinterpreted a tradition imported from the Emerald Isle.
The first St. Patricks Day parade took place not in Dublin but in New York City, in 1762. Over the next 100 years, Irish immigration to the United States exploded. The new wave of immigrants brought their own food traditions, including soda bread and Irish stew. Pork was the preferred meat, since it was cheap in Ireland and ubiquitous on the dinner table. The favored cut was Irish bacon, a lean, smoked pork loin similar to Canadian bacon. But in the United States, pork was prohibitively expensive for most newly arrived Irish families, so they began cooking beefthe staple meat in the American dietinstead.
So how did pork and potatoes become corned beef and cabbage? Irish immigrants to America lived alongside other undesirable European ethnic groups that often faced discrimination in their new home, including Jews and Italians. Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented Jewish delis and lunch carts, and it was there that they first tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, it was seen as a tasty and cheaper alternative to pork. And while potatoes were certainly available in the United States, cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative to cash-strapped Irish families. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish that couldnt be easier to prepare.
After taking off among New York Citys Irish community, corned beef and cabbage found fans across the country. It was the perfect dish for everyone from harried housewives to busy cooks on trains and in cafeteriascheap, easy to cook and hard to overcook. It was even served alongside mock turtle coup at President Lincolns inauguration dinner in 1862.
Far from being as Irish as a shamrock field, this St. Patricks Day classic is as American as apple pie.
It’s Irish because we Irish say it is!! Happy St. Pat’s Day!
“Mock turtle coup”
...Better be wary of those ninja terrapins, lol
I like it whether it originated here or there.
Had it last night and left overs tonight !
Had some last night for supper. Made it in the slow cooker. Great comfort food to enjoy as the snow was falling outside the window.
My Dad’s side is Irish. We’ve always had what his Mom cooked... lamb stew and soda bread. Or, boiled ham with potatoes and cabbage. To be honest... we always joked that the Irish came to America to escape boring food! LOL!
Can’t wait for my corned beef and cabbage tonight. Have to inhale it before running the kids to practice! Hopefully lots of leftovers. Better start guzzling water now.
When I was growing up my mother cooked it every St. Patrick's Day and I never cared for it. When I was 10 and I saw the big pot boiling March 17, I shocked my mother by making spaghetti.
The joke in my family is that our ancestors came here from Ireland because in America they could find Italian women to marry who could cook for them. Otherwise we’d all have starved.
My mother would make it every year, just as pictures, with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, boiled for hours. I do love the meal, but probably have not had it since childhood, due to no one I have lived with in my adulthood likes corned beef or cabbage.
It’s O’Carl’s, tonight at Carlo’s dinner table.. Corned Beef, potatoes, and cabbage.. I’ll be feeding the neighbors, and family.. Yes I love it, however, the windows and doors, will be opened during the preparation, as a precaution, or we’ll be reminded of it for days to come.. :)
“Or, boiled ham with potatoes and cabbage.”
With butter and vinegar.
Just got mine going in the crock pot. Last 4 or 5 times I made it in the crock pot, the corn beef was very tough. This time around I’m going to cook the crap out of it on high instead of low.
Yes! I liked the leftovers even better.. FRIED! Mom would fry everything up with some onion, salt and pepper.
The 99, a mostly-in-New-England restaurant chain, has it on their menu today.
Years ago I and a friend headed into Boston on St Patrick’s Day and we wanted to go to the Black Rose (my brother in law’s family, the Sweeneys, ran it) but when we got there we found there was no food, only music and dancing. So instead we went to the North End and celebrated the day of the Irish by having pizza at the (now gone) European! (I believe the North End was orig. an Irish enclave...home at one time to the Kennedys and the Bulgers.)
I’ve long been curious about the association of corned beef (served with cabbage, though that’s not the thing that matters) with St. Patrick’s Day. The Feast of Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland and Bishop of Armagh (as we in the East call the day when we’re feeling like trotting out full, glorious, Byzantine-style titles) invariably falls during Lent, when, until the Second Vatican Council our separated Latin brethren were forbidden from eating flesh-meats. Did the Irish church give a complete dispensation from fasting on the feast? (If so I then understand the association, since corned beef, being a preserved meat product, would have been conveniently available in the middle of the fast.)
A blessed Feast of Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland and Bishop of Armagh, to all.
Harumph. Next you’ll be telling me that Rice-a-roni isn’t Chinese.
My dh’s family usually ate corned beef and cabbage around St. Patrick’s Day, Scot there, not Irish. I don’t like the corned beef at all and prefer regular beef for my New England dinner.
The secret to tender crock pot corned beef is "low and slow". I cooked mine overnight about ten hours on low and you could cut it with a fork. Many different recipes, but I prefer cooking in apple juice or apple cider.
On my first visit to Ireland back in 2005, I landed in Shannon and stayed in Cork City.
My first meal there was in a place called Mrs. Kelly’s Kitchen (if memory serves). Upsatirs on the second floor off a side street from St. Patrick’s street. A real homey place. Small and friendly. Nothing fancy at all. I dined on corned beef and cabbage with roasted potatoes. I was very hungry so at the time it tasted like the best meal I ever had. Good memories.
Hmm, maybe I’ll cook it on high for 5 hours and low for 3 hours. What happens if you over cook it?
I live with Norwegians, so I get it.
Go out, get one, and do it. Even if you don’t eat the cabbage, get it and boil it up with the cabbage then toss it when you are done.
Have the dinner, and then rock the leftovers. Makes great hash, sandwiches, omelets.
I have it once a year, as a gesture to the fact that I left my home to join theirs and there isn’t an Irish person within three generations of the rest of the family.
Inbred? Oh, there’s more than a little of that based on the drama that ensues.
Anyway, do it for yourself. Use a little mustard. You’ll be glad you did.
People will always find ways to cordon themselves off from other people.
Cabbage is in regular rotation as a side dish on my grill because it’s simple, cheap and delicious ...
Cut a head of cabbage into 4-6 equal wedges
Drizzle melted butter onto the cut sides
Salt and pepper
Wrap in tinfoil and toss on the grill
Maybe I will. And I even love the cabbage. One of the household will be gone for a week or so, coming up, so possibly I will do it then. Also a dinner of Polish sausage and sauerkraut for a night or two. YUM
Fortunately, my son married into a family with Polish traditions, so sausage and sauerkraut are served at all “occasions” dinners.
We love cabbage. It’s really good with hot sauce.
<< Oh Really?
Certainly. Discrimination was applied very evenly back then.
An Irish friend, seeing the parallel, has renamed St. Patrick’s Day as “Cinco de Erin”.
Cinco de Mayo, “The Fifth of May”, is a pseudo-Mexican holiday which celebrates “El Día de la Batalla de Puebla” (The Day of the Battle of Puebla), and is almost entirely celebrated only in the US.
So why “Cinco de Erin?” Well, Erin means Ireland, and Fifth is the amount of whiskey someone might drink on the 17th of April.
Some people cook their vegetables alongside their corned beef, however steaming them apart gives them a cleaner flavor. This is important, because the Irish have a library full of sauces that taste great over vegetables.
For the vegetables:
Course mustard sauce
Guiness mustard sauce
For the corned beef:
Dill pickle-horseradish sauce
Béarnaise sauce, though French, works for corned beef
Cream horseradish sauce
Just tried a new recipe yesterday.
cover flat cut corned beef brisket, fat cap trimmed to 1/4 inch, with 1/2 chicken broth and half water. Add 1 quartered onion, carrots and 2 ribs of celery, cut up. 2-3 TBS mixed pickling spice (I use 3, but tastes vary). Place in Dutch oven and bake @300F for 1 hr/pound of corned beef. I turned it down to 285 after about 2 1/2 hours for a 3.66# brisket. Test for tenderness. Can cook longer or just sit in hot broth for awhile. Drain and place in baking dish, covered, for 30 minutes. Can rest for longer.
Tender, juicy, didn’t shrink much.
I cooked the potatoes separately and steamed the cabbage until barely tender and still crisp. Served both with butter.
The carrots cooked with the corned beef were very spicy and I liked them, but my husband did not. I discarded the onion and celery.
Went overseas for the first time in 2006, and being ignorant as to what food there would be available, I figured that when I got to Ireland I could at least have corned beef and cabbage. Wrong!! I never saw it on any menu the whole time I was there. Needless to say I was disappointed to find out that it wasn’t a regular food item in Ireland.
Love the corned beef, but the cabbage gives me the winds something’ fierce!
Tough corned beef in the crock pot? OK, here we go... cook the “German Style (red)” corned beef brisket, even if the brand name is Callahan. I do not like the “Irish Style (gray)” corned beef (What a revoltin’ development that is” —Digger O’Dell). TRIM as much of the fat as you can off before slow cooking. (This ain’t Katz’ deli) Scrape with the blade where necessary and do not break the membrane, if possible.
Add apple cider, a lot, to the slow cooker, together with some pickling spices, pepper, brown sugar and a tsp. or so of spicy yellow mustard. In my opinion Colexxx’s may be an Irish name but it says English! Yellow mustard - I buy bulk ground yellow mustard on the Internet for a lot less.
Use the slow cooker on high or medium, that is the length of time it will take to hit the table after the parade. To see if it is done use a fork and when it withdraws from the meat easily, it is done. Cool and cut on a diagonal.
For gawd’s sake, cook the cabbage separately with some bacon. Try it wth some mustard on it when you eat it.
My opinions, my recipe and the family will be upset that I gave it out. Happy St. Patrick’s Day form Mexico and remember the Batalion San Padrico!
I cooked my Trader Joe’s brisket in the pressure cooker this last New Year’s with Guinness. After the brisket was cooked, removed, wrapped in foil and set aside, I cooked my potatoes, carrots and onions in the same brisket and Guinness broth. While the veggies were cooking, I sauteed, rather than boiled, the rough chopped cabbage, with butter and brisket broth till soft and tender. It was great at the time, and we will have it again tonight. Cheers!
Thanks for the ideas. I just added 1 sliced jalapena pepper to the crock pot, that should give it some bite. My wife is allergic to jalapena fumes, so I have to be careful when I take the lid off. Also my stupid crock pot only has two speeds, low and high.
As long as you keep it covered in liquid and the fat and liquid doesn't boil away, you should be ok. I leave the fat cap on the top and take it off when cooking is over. Take the brisket out of the liquid and tent it with foil for 15 - 20 minutes before slicing (across the grain, of course). Use the remaining liquid to cook your cabbage. Low boil for 20 minutes.
Next time, try a pressure cooker....That’s what we use, and it’s done in a couple hours.
I try to get the best of both worlds: I steam the cabbage with water from the Brisket.
Yea, there is plenty of liquid. Tried a little piece of carrot and potato, wow that has some bite, makes it come alive! It was only about 1/2 of a jalapena. I put it on at 9 AM and I’m going to eat it at 7 PM
Pressure cookers scare the krap out of me. When I was a kid, my parents almost had one blow up.
They are dangerous if you’re not careful. The trick is to not allow any fat to splatter into the regulator orifice. Don’t be too aggressive getting it to a boil.
Also, don’t use a cheap one. The two we use are about $400 per.
“Cinco de Mayo, The Fifth of May, is a pseudo-Mexican holiday”
My friend from Mexico laughs about Cinco de Mayo celebrations in USA. She said it’s a big fat nothing in Mexico.
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