Corned Beef and Cabbage

I have a long-standing love affair with corned beef. It harkens back to my childhood when cans of corned beef hash, a staple in our pantry, taunted me daily.  I used to beg my Mom to cook them for me with fried eggs.

Those cans were followed by my first encounter with a Reuben sandwich when I was nine. After my first Reuben, I felt worldly, somehow changed. I couldn’t stop talking about those thin slices of salty, marbled corned beef, sauerkraut, rye bread, and dressing.

I had planned this post for last week, for St. Patrick’s Day, but, alas, my son and I got sick, and I spent a humbling week in bed. I was going to channel my Irish great-grandmother and bring forth a toothsome spread. Instead, here I am, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a week later.

A Wee Bit of Trivia: The tradition of having corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is an American tradition, not an Irish one. In its heyday, in the second half of the 19th century, corned beef was manufactured in Ireland and shipped around the world, but locals rarely ate it. It was too costly. In the States, corned beef was inexpensive and readily available, and immigrants used it in place of bacon in the traditional Irish dish bacon and cabbage.

Ingredients

  • corned beef
  • 2 TBSP olive oil (or bacon grease if you have it on hand)
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 1 medium shallot (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (pressed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

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Directions

  1. Place corned beef in a large dutch oven and cover with water (one inch above beef)
  2. Bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer anc cover. Simmer for 2-3 hours until beef is fork tender. Keep around 3 TBSP of the liquid to use on the cabbage.
  3. Remove beef and cover with foil. Allow the meat to rest for at least fifteen minutes.
  4. While the beef is resting, cut half of the cabbage head into thin strips.
  5. Heat a large skillet, add oil or grease, and saute shallot on low to medium heat until light golden brown.
  6. Add garlic and cook for around thirty seconds before adding the cabbage. Add the cabbage, salt, pepper, and stir, making sure to coat the cabbage with the shallot/garlic/oil mixture. Cover and cook, occasionally stirring for around ten minutes.
  7. Add around 3 TBSP of the liquid (you boiled the beef in) to the pan, stir, and cover again. Cook for another five minutes or until cabbage is browned and tender.
  8. Slice corned beef into 1/2 inch slices and plate with a large serving of cabbage.

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