St. Patrick’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, has been an official day to feast since the early 17th century. Celebrated yearly on March 17, it is both a cultural and a religious celebration, observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church.
The holiday, noted and observed worldwide, celebrates Irish heritage and culture. In any given city, you might find a parade, a festival, celebrations at bars and (of course) the wearing of green and the appearance of four-leaf clovers. Heck, here in the United States, you might even find a leprechaun or two out on the town indulging in some green beer and giving little pinches to those few sour sports that chose not to wear green on this festive and indulgent day.
Being an American with a strong Irish heritage, it has always been a tradition for my family to cook up a pot of corned beef and cabbage for the St. Patrick’s Day meal along with a shepherd’s pie. Other traditional items might include a hearty weekend Irish breakfast consisting of fried eggs, Irish bacon, bread and potato farls (a round flatbread cut into fourths) cooked in reserved bacon fat to enhance the crisp texture. This would traditionally be served with tomato and black pudding, similar to a blood sausage.
If there’s still room later that day, one might consider some Irish soda bread, or maybe a bit of boxty (Irish potato griddle cakes), a dessert involving Bailey’s Irish Cream, and then, naturally, a nice stout, ale and/or lager. (Let’s just assume we’ll go with the “and” since it is a holiday and all.)
One thing to note is that a common ingredient in many Irish dishes is potatoes. Having been introduced to Ireland in the later half of the 16th century, the potato has heavily influenced much of Irish cuisine as we know it today.
World’s best corned beef and cabbage recipe
This recipe is extremely forgiving. You can fudge on the amounts of ingredients and the cooking times and still have a great meal to impress your family and friends.
1 3-4 lb corned beef brisket with seasoning packet
1-2 lbs potatoes (I like red or a mix. Cut into 2-inch chunks if too large)
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion coarsely chopped
3-4 carrots, cut into one-inch chunks
1 head of cabbage cut into 3-inch wedges
In a slow cooker, place all vegetables at the bottom. Place brisket atop the veggies. Sprinkle seasoning packet on top of meat. Fill with just enough water to cover meat. Cook on high about 6-8 hours or until tender.
Note: All crock pots cook at differing speeds, but do not check too early, as each time you lift the lid, it will add 30 minutes to your cooking time.
When meat is tender, transfer to cutting board and allow to cool about 15-30 minutes. Slice beef across the grain and serve alongside vegetables and sauce created from stew ingredients. Serve with a nice tall Guinness and enjoy!