Food & Drink

Culinary magic: Make corned beef and cabbage for your St. Patrick's Day festivities

Cliff Jette /The Gazette

Corned beef and cabbage is the ideal meal for St. Patrick’s Day.
Cliff Jette /The Gazette Corned beef and cabbage is the ideal meal for St. Patrick’s Day.

March has quite a few things going for itself. For sports fans its March Madness, and for the Irish there is St. Patrick’s Day. Many of us who are not of Irish descent still enjoy the food, drinks and festivities of the holiday. My favorites are the “Kiss me I’m ...” shirts and buttons, the parades and, of course, the traditional cuisine.

This article showcases an Irish classic — corned beef and cabbage. All those intense flavors from coriander, fennel and a few other spices mesh the beef and cabbage together beautifully. You have the sweet of the cabbage and the savory from the meat, making this a perfect meal option for comfort food lovers.

There are so many varieties and colors for cabbage, which makes this delicious comfort food versatile. I love foods that can be prepared a variety of different ways, as you can tell by now, I’m sure. You can use red cabbage or green, and you can fry it, steam it or boil it. Even if you choose to smoke the brisket rather than boil it, your meal will be yummy and comforting.

I really miss the days of my grandma teaching life lessons as she also taught me how to cook. She taught me how cabbage doesn’t require a lot of anything in order to taste good. She showed me how to pick the best cabbage out of the produce section and how to prepare and cook the cabbage in multiple dishes.

Most often you can find a prepackaged corned beef with the seasoning packet included, so no worries about trying to figure it out. Of course, you will need to prep and cook the beef for a few hours until it is fork-tender before adding the chopped cabbage. Again, with the versatility of this one-pot wonder, you can add other veggies, such as carrots and potatoes.

This may be the most famous dish to eat on St. Patrick’s Day, but the corned beef and cabbage recipe featured here is a favorite at my house all year-round. Based off the size of the corned beef that was used for this recipe, you could serve up to 10 people easily. My family loves sweet cornbread with our rendition of this Irish-American classic comfort food, but not everybody does. If you’d like the recipe for my sweet cornbread, it’s in the archives.

There are two sauces that I love with this dish — my mustard sauce and horseradish sauce. (My family would rather have hot sauce, so I don’t get to make them often. Maybe your family isn’t as picky as mine. )

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In just a couple of hours you can create culinary magic for your dinner party or St. Patrick’s Day festivities. It’s a simple meal that packs a powerful punch of flavor, comfort and nutrients. What better way to shoo out winter and invite spring into the new year?

No matter if you cook it with a slow cooker or stovetop, use carrots and potatoes, or red or green cabbage, your meal will be amazing with hardly any effort. Never be afraid to experiment. Remember, every meal started with curiosity and necessity, so try different recipes, share recipes, and let’s create some culinary magic.

• Michelle Madden of Cedar Rapids has a catering business called Tastefully Made Creations (stepmad1@gmail.com).

Recipes

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 2 1/2 to 3 hours

Yield: About 10 servings

1 4-pound brisket with spice packet

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 bay leaves

10 to 15 small red potatoes (your choice to peel or not)

8 medium carrots halved clockwise or one small bag of baby carrots

1 medium cabbage cut into wedges

For Horse Radish Sauce

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 to 1 1/2 cups of broth from corned beef and cabbage

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup horseradish

For Mustard Sauce

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sugar

On medium high heat, place brisket, seasoning packet, bay leaves and brown sugar in slow cooker, Dutch oven or stock pot; cover with water and or beef broth and boil; reducing the heat to medium and simmer covered for two hours.

Add potatoes and carrots and return to boiling about another 30 to 45 minutes until veggies and meat are fork-tender.

Add cabbage to pot for about 15 minutes until cabbage is tender.

For Horseradish Sauce: Strain and reserve 1 to 1 1/2 cups broth from the corned beef and cabbage. Make sure to skim any fat that floats to the top. In a small saucepan, melt butter using medium heat; stir until smooth. Gradually whisk in 1 cup reserved broth. Stir in sugar, vinegar and horseradish; bring to boil stirring constantly until it thickens.

For Mustard Sauce: Mix all ingredients together very well.

Slice or shred beef and plate with veggies and sauces on the side. Bon appetite.

Source: Michelle Madden

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