I love St. Patrick’s Day because I love corned beef! I moved to Michigan on St. Patrick’s Day of 2000 – I moved from the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire, so I carried with me live lobsters. That was the only year I can remember not having the traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve heard conflicting stories about how traditional this meal actually is – I’ve also heard conflicting stories about how Irish I am; so the way I figure, my alleged Irish heritage is as empirical as this dish. I’ve learned over the years that this dish is one of those “love it or leave it” dishes. On several occasions I’ve served this meal expecting elation from my guests, only to instead hear “I’ve never really liked corned beef.” And let’s be honest, the corned beef is the star of the show here – the cabbage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc., well, they’re really just boiled vegetables. In such situations, one must be sure to have great bread, and great dessert (see other posts). I know people who prepare this meal in the slow cooker – I’m sure it’s equally good, but I have always cooked it the way mother did (she never had a slow-cooker), boiled on the stove. I serve this with a variety of good mustards and horseradish cream sauce (see below). Use leftover corned beef and potatoes to make corned beef patties and serve as benedict for breakfast.
- 5-6 Lb. Corned Beef Brisket (with seasoning packet*)
- 2 Large Sweet or White Onions – peeled, cut in half
- 6 Large or -12 small Potatoes – peeled or skin-on(use favorite potatoes – redskins, baby redskins, Yukons, small white, fingerlings) (cut potatoes in 1/2 if using large)
- 8-10 Large Carrots/Parsnips – or combination (peeled and cut into 1.5″ pieces) (can substitute baby carrots- about 2 cups)
- 1-2 Heads of Cabbage – core removed and cut into wedges (use toothpicks to secure wedges if desired – I never bother)
Place Corned Beef Brisket, seasonings, and onions in a large stockpot and cover with water (water should cover meat by about 6″). Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat so that water is at a high simmer or gentle boil (you don’t want it to boil over – it’s messy) and cook for 3.5-4 hours. Add remaining vegetables to pot and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetable and transfer to a large serving bowl or high rimmed platter. Remove brisket and slice – add to platter and serve immediately.
Horseradish Cream Sauce:
- 1 Cup Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche
- 2 TBS. Prepared Horseradish (more if desired)
- 2 TBS. Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste
Mix all ingredients until well combined. It’s best to allow the sauce to sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to really develop the flavors. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving so that sauce is close to room temperature.