Corned Beef and Cabbage
You can't say corned beef and cabbage to most people without them thinking of St. Patrick’s Day. I equate it to turkey dinner and our Thanksgiving celebration. Corned beef, used in a Reuben grill sandwich, is available all year round in this sandwich or as a deli meat. However corned beef and cabbage is not as available as the meal might be. You are likely to find it in some Irish pubs or strict Irish restaurants.
Corned Beef is a cut of meat from beef that resides on the brisket of the animal. If you go to about your food on the menu bar at the top of the home page, and look under beef, you will see where the brisket and plate are. Corned Beef is made from the plate and deckle cuts, the plate is the flatter portion that is most desirable for this dish.
Corned Beef and Cabbage, An Irish Dish
The question: is Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish dish? This is an interesting question because we eat Corned beef and Cabbage annually in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, so it must be an Irish dish. Right? Well the answer to this question is yes and no.
To seek the answer to this, you would have to go back to a day where refrigeration is in the form of a cellar under your home. It may be an area with ice in it that would only exist for brief periods until after winter expired, once the ice melted so ended this refrigeration. Generally speaking this refrigeration was better suited for root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, turnips and beets. In Ireland potatoes became the popular available food for them.
So here is the yes and no of this discussion. With the lack of refrigeration curing meat was a solution that we talk about further down in the best Corned beef and Cabbage recipe. Fish and meats would be brined and if they were not used quickly they would be dried for later use.
Well this became a big business of the time. In fact, Ireland was an exporter of brined beef, or corned beef as we know it today. They would ship it to Britain and surrounding areas that would have a demand for it. Prices were high and wasn’t as easily affordable to the general Irish population.
The Irish were generally speaking farmers and fishermen. They like much of the world weren’t a wealthy nation. The Irish population generally used potatoes as a staple crop for daily food. The Irish would much more likely have consumed a smoked pork shoulder when St. Patrick’s Day became recognized as a celebration in the early 1900’s. This meal would be cooked like corned beef, however it didn’t have the hefty price tag that the beef maintained.
Corned beef and cabbage, an Irish dish, yes it was, however it wasn’t readily consumed by the Irish because of costs. The Irish were the producers and exporters of the dish.
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day With Corned Beef and Cabbage
While the shamrock is a symbol of Ireland it is also a symbol of life and new beginnings as they sprout in the springtime. It also represents St. Patrick’s Day, and this is when we think of Corned Beef and Cabbage among other things. St. Patrick was originally a slave captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain.
Patrick remained there for 6 years as slave. He escaped and returned to his homeland where he became a cleric in the Catholic church. He then returned to Ireland in efforts to share his Christian faith with the country.
He did this he went throughout the nation evangelizing it and planting churches. He did so well at this that he became recognized for it. Churches of the world recognized his accomplishments. Although this day is recognized in Ireland today it was more recognized in the United states until the early 1900’s as a welcoming of the Irish immigrants.
Now it is recognized in a national celebration in the country of Ireland. Many Americans make the pilgrimage to Ireland for this day. Celebrating St. Patrick’s day with Corned beef and Cabbage in Ireland is popular.
The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe
The Irish would likely cook a smoked pork shoulder for a boiled dinner because of the affordability of pork over beef. However, they were the creators of the best corned beef and cabbage recipe. The recipe for a smoked pork shoulder and corned beef and cabbage are the same. The difference only lays in the meat, pork VS Beef.
The best corned beef and cabbage recipe came about because of the way it came into being. In these days they didn’t have refrigeration. The preservation of foods isn’t a modern-day creation. It came about to have foods available when times for growing, hunting or harvesting were difficult at best. When they are able to preserve foods they had meat and fish in the harshest conditions of winter.
It was in these days that they were the innovators of the preservation methods for foods. They would salt fish, smoke fish, and salt meats and dry Meats and fish. One method of this preservation was brining, you would put your fish or meat in a barrel with a solution containing a high concentration of salt. The meat would either reside in the brine or be removed and dried for later use.
This is where corned beef came in. The meat was corned, which is what we described above, and then cooked in water to remove the high concentration of salt. This now salinized water became very flavorful. Once you cook your corned beef you will remove from water and cook your vegetables in the meat flavored water. This truly is the best corned beef and cabbage recipe, for your convenience it is listed below.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 5 lb Corned Beef Brisket 1 each (Plate)
- 1 lb Carrot peeled cut in 1 inch chunks
- 1 Head of Cabbage cut into 6 or 8 wedges depending on size
- 2 lbs. Red Bliss Potatoes cut in ½
- 2 Onion large, cut in ¼’s
- 1 T Pickling Spice often times this comes with the brisket
- In Large stock pot, place corned beef brisket, cover with water, add pickling spice
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, simmer for 2 – 3 hours with the lid on
- Once meat is tender, (Internal temperature of 195), remove the meat, add vegetables
- Cook until tender Remove vegetables, place on a platter for service
- Take some of this newly made stock (1 quart) and thicken with a roux (4 oz.)
- Serve Sliced brisket with vegetables and sauce or with whole grain mustard