Céad míle fáilte! (One thousand welcomes!)
Just for the fun of it, my husband and I (who both hail from Celtic ancestry) would like to share our traditional St. Paddy’s Day dinner with you.
NOTE: Corned beef did not originate in Ireland. It became a popular dish with Irish immigrants in New York City in the 1800s because it served as a suitable substitute for Irish bacon (similar to Canadian bacon). Corned beef & cabbage is a traditional Irish-American meal.
Made by pickling the brisket (the cut above the shank), corned beef is so named because of the coarse salt used to pickle the beef; corn was a synonym for grain (as in a small particle).
Below is a recipe for pickling your own brisket:
1 gal water
2 cups Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 tsp pink salt*
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp pickling spice, divided
One 5 lb. well-marbled (first cut) beef brisket
Combine water, kosher salt, sugar, pink salt, garlic and 2 Tbsp pickling
spice in a pot large enough to hold the brisket comfortably. Bring to a simmer,
stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the brine
until it’s completely chilled. Place the brisket in the brine and weight it down with
a plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.
Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly under cool running water.
Place brisket in a pot just large enough to hold it and add enough water to
cover the meat. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of pickling spices and bring to a
boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 3 hours, or until the
brisket is fork-tender (replenish the water to keep brisket covered as needed).
Remove from liquid. Slice beef and serve warm. (Cook vegetables in broth
as indicated below).
Reserve some of the cooking broth for use at the table.
*Pink salt, or nitrite. If you can’t find this, you can order it from the Michlitch Co. (sold as Prague Powder #1 as Sausage Seasonings/Meat Cures).
While corned beef is simmering, spoon off some of the broth
and put in a pot with washed baby red potatoes and simmer
until potatoes are soft. Add cabbage only for the last ten
minutes. Drain and serve with the corned beef.
Nothing’s better with corned beef—or in the morning, in place of toast or a muffin—than Irish soda bread spread with lemon curd.
4 cups flour
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet or an 8″ round cake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir and toss together flour, salt and baking soda.
Add buttermilk and stir briskly with a fork until the dough holds together
in a rough mass. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 30 seconds, then
pat into an 8″ round about 1½” thick. With a sharp knife, slash a large ¼”
deep X across the top. Place on the prepared baking sheet or cake pan
and bake for about 45 — 50 minutes, until nicely brown and the X has
spread open. Transfer to a rack to cool, then wrap in a slightly damp
towel and let rest, on the rack, for at least 8 hours. Soda bread should
always be completely cooled before serving.
Lemon curd is thick and creamy, and can be used as a tart filling or as a spread.
6-7 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ pound butter
1 cup sugar
Put lemon juice, butter, and sugar in the top of a double boiler
or in a bowl over simmering water. DON’T LET THE WATER BOIL.
Stir occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs until thoroughly blended. Stir-
ring constantly, spoon a little of the lemon mixture into the
eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the lemon mixture, still stirring
constantly, and continue to cook until the curd is thick. This may
take up to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool and store
in the refrigerator. It will keep for 2 weeks.
And here is an Irish blessing for your table (the very one we say on St. Patrick’s Day before dinner):
May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow.
For every tear, a smile.
For every care a promise,
And a blessing in each trial
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share.
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.