Thursday, March 7, 2013

Latter Day Irishman Corned Beef and Cabbage



I was about 42 years old when I discovered that I was Irish.  Until that point, we knew very little about my paternal grandmother's family, the Rounds family.  But through the miracle of the Internet, a Dodge County website that scanned old newspaper clippings, a distant relative out on the East Coast and Ancestry.com, I traced my Irish roots back to the 10th Century, A.D.

My first St. Patrick's Day as an Irishman was...shall we say...memorable.  My friend Roy Fowler (an Irishman through and through) and I still wax poetic about what we refer to as "The St. Patrick's Day Massacre" in Prentice, WI where we both have cabins.  We were hung over for several days.  And no self-respecting Irishman can get through the St. Pat's season without a heaping helping of Corned Beef and Cabbage, in which we well immersed ourselves, along with copious amounts of green beer.

This is my very simple, straightforward way of preparing corned beef and cabbage.  It's not fancy and there's no fuss.  More effort goes into making the mustard sauce than anything else.  Here goes:

1 Corned Beef Brisket (any cut...I'm not picky)
1/2 head Green Cabbage
4-5 nice Carrots
2 Parsnips
1 heaping tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 packet Seasoning (comes with Corned Beef, usually)
Vinegar
Water
1 tsp Black Pepper
Potatoes (optional)

In a crock pot, place the Corned Beef and all above ingredients.  Fill half with Vinegar, half with Water.  Turn on High for a few hours, then reduce to low.  Do this the morning of the evening that it will be served.   You don't have to cut up the vegetables, they'll fall apart.   You can add the potatoes to this, or just bake them on the side if you don't like the potatoes to have the vinegary taste (some folks find that it's just too much to have the taters brined also)

When the veggies fall apart easily, turn off or set on warm if your crock pot has that setting.  Serve with mustard sauce (recipe below)

Mustard Sauce:

1/4 cup of the juice from the finished meal in the crock pot
1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
1/8 cup flour
1 egg, raw
2 T horseradish
2 T honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

I like to take all of this and put it in an empty mustard or other squeeze type bottle, then shake the bejeesus out of it.  I then just put the bottle on the table.  I guess if you wish to be more elegant, you can put it in some sort of condiment serving vessel.  But since 9 times out of 10 when I make this, we're at the cabin, it's Maple Sugaring Season and the Jameson and Green Beer is flowing well, elegance is not high on the priority list.  :D

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