What are the origins of corned beef and cabbage?
Corned beef and cabbage isn’t quite traditional Irish food. Its origins can be found in the Irish dish bacon and cabbage. It changed into what we know today when Irish immigrants arrived in the United States and corned beef took the place of bacon.
Back then, beef brisket was a less expensive meat option than the traditional bacon. A long, slow cooking method that helps tenderize beef brisket, a tough cut of meat, improves the dish. As the meat cooks, the corning spices impart a lot of flavor.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that a significant portion of the cultural cuisine we are familiar with in the United States was developed by diaspora communities who wanted to recreate their favorite dishes using the readily available and reasonably priced ingredients. Therefore, even though you won’t find this dish in Ireland, it is still a traditional Irish-American dish.
Why is this eaten for Saint Patrick’s Day?
Well, Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday whose significance has somewhat been obscured by the manner in which it is currently observed. The occasion was established to honor Irish culture and celebrate Ireland.
Take this Irish Culture virtual field trip with your family if you want to learn more about Saint Patrick’s Day. In addition, I have a fun supplement to the virtual field trip called Mealtime Explorers: Ireland.
To make the corned beef you only technically need two ingredients: corned beef and water. Most packages of corned beef come with a package of spices that you can use. You can also buy corned beef seasoning like this one from The Spice House.
If you would like to use your own spices, you could make your own seasoning. Try this recipe from Hilda’s Kitchen Blog.
You could include potatoes, carrots, or cabbage if you want to add any vegetables to this. I’ve provided some suggestions for the best potatoes below, as well as advice on when to add vegetables in the tips section.
What kind of potatoes work best for slow cooking?
Slow cooking your usual baking potatoes tends to make them mushy. Red and yellow potatoes fare better when cooked slowly and gently.
Consider cutting your potatoes only in half if they are larger or leaving them whole if they are smaller if you find that they are more cooked than you would like after quartering them.
- Put the corned beef, fat side up, in the slow cooker. This will keep the corned beef from drying out.
- Instead of cooking carrots separately, you can add them to the slow cooker if you’d like. Add them with the potatoes.
- If you want to cook cabbage in the slow cooker as well, add it in the last 30-45 minutes of cooking so that it will cook but not fall apart.
What to serve with corned beef?
To balance out the salty meat, I like to serve corned beef with sauteed cabbage and honey-glazed carrots. If you don’t like cabbage or carrots, green beans would be a good substitute. No judgements here!.
Irish soda bread, which is a quick and simple bread to make, is always served with this. Kids can learn to make this delicious quick bread on their own because it requires no yeast.
Rye bread is another option if you don’t want to make your own bread. Rye bread is typically available at my neighborhood supermarket, but you can also try more specialized stores like Sprouts Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods.
What to do with leftovers?
We don’t typically seem to have a lot of leftovers, but I don’t know about you. However, I still purchase two corned beef briskets so that I will have leftovers. Here are some suggestions for how to use leftovers, no matter which boat you are in:
- Make a corned beef and potato breakfast hash
- Make these grilled corned beef and sauerkraut sandwiches with the leftover meat.
Other Irish inspired recipes
Here are some of our favorite Irish comfort foods in case you’re looking for something different to eat on St. Patrick’s Day or just in the mood for some more!
Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Potatoes
- ▢ 1 corned beef brisket with spices
- ▢ 2 pounds red potatoes quartered or halved
- ▢ water
- ▢ 2 pounds baby carrots optional
- ▢ 1 head cabbage cored and sliced
- Place potatoes on the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Place corned beef in slow cooker fat side up. Sprinkle spices over the corned beef. Add enough water to just cover the corned beef.
- Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.