Lucky Four Leaf Clover
Healthy Eating History Recipes

Super Easy Corned Beef & Cabbage

Do you celebrate what I call ethnic (but PC would probably prefer “cultural”) celebrations?  I do, especially if they involve eating.  And luckily for me, most holidays revolve around food!  Of course, everyone knows the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe even Passover and Easter.  But some of the lesser celebrations – well I’m all in for those meals too.  Cinco de Mayo – tacos, Hanukkah – latkes and brisket, Super Bowl – finger foods.  And now it’s March, we have St. Patrick’s Day where I can honor my Irish roots, and I do so by making super easy corned beef & cabbage.

Ahem, as to my Irish roots. This is the sum of what I remember about St. Paddy’s:  1. it was my Grandma’s birthday and 2. you got to pinch somebody if they weren’t wearing green.  My dad purposely would not wear anything with green in it so we would get a kick out of pinching him.  We were some kind of crazy family.

A Little History on Corned Beef & Cabbage

And now, since you may have gathered I’m not Irish (that I know of), a little history around one of our favorite annual meals.  Corned beef and cabbage.  As it turns out, it’s not even a meal from the Emerald Isle.  As I found out from a Smithsonian article, it’s an American concoction.  The Irish who had immigrated to New York settled in neighborhoods close to Jewish immigrants.  Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans formed a bond from both groups escaping poverty, oppression and loss, and both groups making better lives in the U.S.

As times got better for the Irish, they could afford beef, which was not a common part of their diet in Ireland.  They purchased the inexpensive kosher brisket cut from their Jewish butcher neighbors. The salting and slow cooking process turned this tough cut into a delicious treat we still enjoy today.

As Irish-Americans transformed a religious holiday into a celebration of their heritage, they feasted on corned beef, paired with their traditional potatoes and added cheap cabbage.  The popularity of the meal and the American celebrations have now made their way across the Atlantic and St. Paddy’s in Ireland has adapted itself to the U.S. version, becoming more festive and less religious than it was.

Corned Beef, Cabbage & Irish Soda Bread

So enough with the history lesson, on to how very simple this dish is.

I do make my beef in the crockpot which is convenient and makes the meat fall-apart delish.  However, adding the vegetables to the crockpot at the same time leaves you with greasy mush, so I cook those separately.  We also purchase the more expensive flat cut which has less marbling and more edible meat. Another note, I love rainbow carrots.  For some reason I think they are sweeter with better taste.  But sometimes, they freak people out who are used to having their carrots orange and won’t try a purple one.  Ha!  Here is what I do:

Corned Beef and Cabbage

  • 2 pounds corned beef (all fat trimmed)
  • Contents of the spice package (or half if you think it might be too strong) which is enclosed in the meat package
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small head of cabbage cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
I love the flavor of rainbow carrots which come in orange, yellow and purple.  They all taste the same, but some folks are put off by purple carrots!
Rainbow Carrots and Cabbage

In the crock pot, place spices, beef and three cups of water, cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

In a separate pot, 30 minutes before serving meat, cover the carrots and potatoes in boiling water flavored with chicken bouillon, simmer until carrots are slightly tender.  After about 15 minutes, add cabbage and cook until soft.

I serve with horse radish and Dijon mustard.

Irish Soda Bread

I tried this Irish Soda Bread.  The “amazing easy” part hooked me since I’m not much of a baker. True to its word, it was really easy to make. I round up all my ingredients first so I don’t leave anything out. My helpful hint: I freeze my dry ingredients so they don’t spoil.

I’m not sure if my Arizona cats are of Irish descent, but they look good on the green turf.

Roxy, Mandy and Kinsey are enjoying the nice weather and look so St. Paddy's appropriate on the green turf.
Roxy, Mandy and Kinsey are enjoying the nice weather and look so St. Paddy’s appropriate on the green turf.

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