Monday, March 3, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Recipes

We used to think of Irish food about the same way we think of English food -- it's mostly boiled potatoes and other veggies with tasteless slabs of boiled meat.  (That's the rap on it, isn't it?)  But then a few years ago, we tasted the most mouth-watering corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day and the most delicious Irish Soda Bread.  Now we wish it was St. Patrick's Day every month so we could find an excuse to make this classic Irish meal. What makes it so yummy?  Tried and true secrets of the meal can be found here today! 

The big secret to making tender, mouth watering corned beef is really no secret. It's cooking it "low and slow" all day long in a crock pot.  You will need: 

  • 1 Large onion, peeled and cut into pieces
  • Corned beef brisket with spice packet (spice packet included when you buy the brisket)
  • Water - enough to cover the entire brisket in the crockpot 

The directions are not earth shattering or complicated.  Just place the beef, contents of spice packet, and cover with water.  Turn the crock pot on LOW and cook all day -- between 8-10 hours.  The longer you cook it, the more it falls apart and melts in your mouth.  Look for a piece of brisket with a good bit of fat on it. (We didn't say it was healthy, just delicious!) 

Some people make the cabbage along with the beef, but we think that's a mistake.  To make the cabbage, you will need: 
  • Large head of white cabbage -- chopped in chunks 
  • 2 Vidalia onions or sweet onions 
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper 
  • Water to cover all the ingredients
Assemble all the ingredients in a large pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.  The cabbage and onions turn very soft. Drain in a colander when you are done and serve under the corned beef.  Serve with spicy mustard. 

Last up, and unfortunately the most complicated, is the Irish Soda Bread.  We do have a good family recipe at home but were intrigued by this "pull apart" Irish Soda Bread from Martha Stewart this month.  Try it with us this St. Paddy's day and let us know what you think! Here's our family tip:  all Irish Soda bread, no matter how moist, needs butter.  The more butter the better.  Really, it's just an excuse to practically eat butter.  Follow the link here for the recipe! 

So there you have it!  A traditional Irish meal for St. Patrick's Day -- one of our favorites. Share your ideas and recipes with us here.  We'd love to hear what you are cooking up! 

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