Corned Beef and Cabbage

Nathan and I seem to have a knack for featuring controversial foods on Rampant Cuisine and this post is a case in point. We did a little research on the custom of eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day and were surprised to learn that the dish is rarely eaten in modern day Ireland, for the holiday or otherwise. This is an American custom… not an Irish tradition as most people believe.  It is true that at one time corned beef was a popular food for all classes in Ireland but it has become a forgotten flavor and one that was never associated with St. Patrick’s Day. After doing a little research on corned beef and cabbage we learned that  the tradition was started by the Irish immigrants who came over to America as a result of the Great Potato Famine. Upon their arrival, they found corned beef to be cheaper than the pork they were accustomed to. This meal would NOT be served for St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland because it is too pedestrian and simple of a meal to be served for a special holiday. I’ll be honest…our meat came out a little tough (we bought a pretty cheap cut of meat) and the creamy mustard horseradish sauce ended up being the star of the meal.

Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Valhalla Valkyrie, 2004
Rating: 7.75 out of 10

If you like a wine with strong flavors of vanilla and oak then this is the wine for you. We bought this wine at a winery in Roanoke, VA during our VA wine tour and decided that it would be a suitable pairing for a salty meat and vegetables. Valkyrie is a mix of Cabernet Savignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Vedot. The wine was solid and flavorful and the meal was good but in this case I didn’t feel that the pairing did much for either. They coexisted without doing a lot of complementing or contrasting.

Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Harpoon Celtic Ale
Rating: 6.0 out of 10

I figured as long as we were cooking a fake authentic Irish dish as interpreted by America, I would pair the dish with an Irish red ale from Boston brewery Harpoon.  Compared to other Irish reds that I have had this beer falls a little short.  The color and head on the beer were great but unfortunately the body and flavor of the beer left something to be desired.  The small amount of flavor had a hint of malt and then just disappeared.  This helped to offset the horseradish and mustard from our sauce some but didn’t fully satisfy me.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients:

2.5 lb. corned brisket of beef
5 carrots, cut into large chunks
2-3 medium sizel onions
1 teaspoon dry English mustard
large sprig fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together
1 cabbage
salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Put the brisket into a saucepan with the carrots, onions, mustard and the herbs. Cover with cold water, and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in quarters and add to the pot. Cook for a further 1 to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are soft and tender.
Serve the corned beef in slices, surrounded by the vegetables.

Mustard-Horseradish Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. Butter
1 Tbs. Flour
½ cup milk
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1 Tbs. horseradish
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter over medium heat, add flour, and whisk to form a paste. Slowly pour in milk and continue to whisk while adding the remaining ingredients. Remove from heat after sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.

 

 

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