Let it be said that the Irish diet is one I’ve been following most of my life: meat, potatoes, and bread. I love it. Affirmation of my Irish blood.
I knocked two more “classics” off my list. First up, corned beef & cabbage. As mentioned in my Rueben post, corned beef isn’t exactly as Irish as everyone associates it to be. In fact, pork is more traditional than beef in Ireland. When the Irish immigrated to the US, they often lived along the Jewish and Italian groups. They noticed that corned beef (a method to preserve method) was similar to Irish bacon. The Irish are all about cooking efficiencies (another tribute to my obvious heritage), so cooking cabbage (cheap) with potatoes and carrots in one pot was easy. So Americans have continued to eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day as an “Irish tradition.” I grew up thinking this, since my mom also served corned beef & cabbage – at least sometime in March!
I had an important realization while my corned beef simmered away in the crockpot. I don’t love the crockpot because 1. Have you seen This is Us???, and 2. It’s TOO hands off for me! What am I supposed to do all day? I ended up cleaning the house. An entire spring cleaning, while the smell of feet permeated the air. I love corned beef and all, but the whole concoction does not smell great. I made bacon, burned candles, used my oil diffuser, AND mopped all the floors so I didn’t notice it too much.
There’s not much of a recipe needed when you buy a corned beef – it comes with the seasoning. I just jazzed it up a tiny bit, and waited to add the veggies until several hours into the cooking.
CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE CROCK POT METHOD
- Mix a little beef stock with a teaspoon of dry mustard, a dash of Worchestire sauce, and the seasoning packet.
- Cut one onion and line the bottom of the crockpot.
- Place the beef on top of the onions – fat side up. Some recipes said to trim it, but that’s what keeps the beef moist – and it falls off easily later.
- Pour the seasoning mixture over the meat and add more beef broth, 2-3 cups.
- Set crockpot for 5 hours on high.
- After 5 hours, add chopped carrots and baby potatoes. Most recipes will say to add them all at once, but these veggies will completely disintegrate. Thus making this a crockpot recipe you can’t necessarily set up when you’ll be gone for a full day of work.
- After another 1.5 – 2 hours, add a quartered cabbage, and lower the heat to Low.
- Cook for another 60-90 minutes under the cabbage is soft, potatoes are fork tender, and the meat is easily shreddable.
I bought a really small piece of meat, since there’s just two of us. We have enough leftover to make (more) Reuben sandwiches – so I’ll find out if the shredded roast vs. sliced deli meat does indeed make a better sandwich! Also, the cabbage wasn’t terribly popular so next time I may just do the meat, potatoes and carrots, and serve Brussels sprouts on the side. Mini cabbages are way better anyway.
Next up – Bangers & Mash! This dish is thought of as both English or British, either way, they’re onto something. More meat and potatoes! With the addition of Guinness, it’s totally Irish. The name comes from the World War 1 era, when there were meat shortages and sausages were made with fillers (like today’s hot dogs??). The fillers included water, and often the sausages would explode when cooking, hence, “bangers”. “Mash” = mashed potatoes. I didn’t really measure, and I scaled down the recipe for just 2 of us. Also I used too much milk in the potatoes, so I added more cheese. Because honestly, when is the last time cheese didn’t solve your problems? Unless you are lactose intolerant of course.
I was able to start boiling the potatoes, then the sausage, and make the gravy to all be ready at the same time.
- Sausage links – I used Johnsonville Irish O’Garlic but any sausage would work.
- 1/2 – 1 onion, sliced thin
- 1 bottle of Guinness
- 1-2 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP flour
- Beef broth
- Dash of Worcheshire sauce
- 1 clove or 1 tsp. minced garlic
- Fresh shredded Irish white cheddar
- Salt & pepper
- Boil potatoes until fork tender, then drain.
- Add milk and garlic, then mash the potatoes. Add as much fresh shredded cheddar as desired. Salt & pepper to taste.
- Add sausage to a shallow pan and partially fill with a little broth and Guinness. Simmer on low to cook sausage through.
- Once sausage is cooked through, drain any remaining broth and brown the sausages.
- While the potatoes are boiling and the sausages are simmering, melt butter in a skillet and add the onion. Stir occasionally until soft.
- Sprinkle flour on onions, stir until fully incorporated.
- Add broth, beer, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Add slowly to deglaze the onion bits from the pan. Simmer on low – add more of any of the liquids as desired.
- Serve mashed potatoes with sausage and gravy.
- Drink any remaining Guinness.
I have 3 more recipes left in my #irishomarch plans, plus my extra Reuben sandwich, and another jar of Irish Cream to get me through the end of March!
What are your St. Patty’s Day traditions??