By Barbara Beltrami
Corned beef and cabbage may be the go-to dish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but you certainly don’t have to be Irish to love it. In fact, I have seen people who normally wouldn’t go near a vegetable with a 10-foot pole devour cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, and I once knew a vegetarian who confessed that she renounced her vows once a year to eat corned beef.
As with so many holiday meals, the leftovers can be great with definitely a sandwich the next day — thin slices of corned beef between slices of good rye bread slathered with mustard or an open-faced sandwich topped with Russian dressing, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese for a mouth-watering Reuben. Corned beef and a few boiled potatoes from the original meal can morph into corned beef hash topped with a nice runny-yolked egg or eggs Benedict on a bed of corned beef hash and capped with hollandaise sauce.
And don’t forget the Irish soda bread. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or in between, it’s that other St. Patrick’s Day traditional fare that you don’t have to be Irish to love.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
YIELD: 6 to 8 servings with leftovers
4 to 5 pounds corned beef brisket plus accompanying spices
One medium cabbage, cut in thick wedges
6 to 8 pared or scrubbed medium potatoes
6 to 8 pared carrots
2 whole peeled onions
DIRECTIONS: Rinse corned beef under cold water. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cook for two minutes. Reduce heat and remove scum from top of water. Add spices provided. Simmer 3 to 4 hours or until it is tender but can still be picked up with a fork without falling apart. Add vegetables and cook over low heat until they are tender but not soggy. Remove vegetables and set aside to keep warm. Remove meat and slice across the grain. Serve with horseradish or mustard and Irish soda bread.
Corned Beef Hash
YIELD: Makes 4 servings
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 cups diced cooked corned beef
2 to 3 cups diced cooked potatoes
One small onion, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a medium skillet. Combine next four ingredients. Then add the mixture and spread evenly over pan. Cook over low heat without stirring until brown on the bottom. Slide or flip onto plate. Serve with eggs, pickles or salad.
Irish Soda Bread
YIELD: 6 to 8 servings
2½ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup raisins or dried currants
¾ cup buttermilk
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With pastry blender or two criss-crossed knives cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles fine crumbs or meal. Stir in raisins or currants and just enough buttermilk so that dough leaves sides of bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead one to two minutes or until dough is smooth. Shape into round loaf and place on cookie sheet. With a floured knife cut a half-inch deep X into top of loaf. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter and any of the above-mentioned recipes or toast it and serve with butter or jam for breakfast.