Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Special: Corned Beef, Boiled Vegetables, Irish Soda Bread, and Beer Floats!

While neither my husband nor I are Irish, we do live in Boston, which is a pretty Irish town. Also, we love a good reason to cook something festive for friends, so of course it makes sense that we celebrated St. Patrick's Day festivities this past weekend.

We invited a few of our pals over on Sunday night for a little Irish noshing. After nibbling on Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, and sipping a few brews, we dug into our annual Boiled Dinner. St. Patrick's Day is on a Wednesday this year, so while you can't (or shouldn't) partake in drunken revelry, you can still enjoy an Irish dinner on the holiday. You can make this meal fairly easily on a weeknight, since the roast can be done in a slow cooker. 

Since the March lion is still with us, 
it is still OK to have my winter centerpiece out...right? Anyone?

Corned Beef

Although point-cut corned beef brisket is often cheaper, you should know that point-cuts are often much fattier than the flat-cut sort. It can be hard to tell in the store if your cut is mostly meat or fat, so use caution in picking out your roast.

Place your brisket in a slow cooker and top with the spice packet it came with. Usually these packets include crushed bay leaves, mustard seeds, garlic and minced onion, and salt. No extra liquid is necessary; the roast will release more than enough of its own juices to simmer in.

Cover the slow cooker and leave on low for 8 hours.

That was easy, wasn't it?

Boiled Vegetables

In a large stock pot, add:
  1. Shredded Green Cabbage
  2. Peeled, sectioned carrots
  3. Peeled, chopped rutabaga and/or turnips
  4. Peeled, chopped potatoes
  5. Tablespoon Salt
  6. Approximately a tsp each of mustard seeds and dried minced onion
  7. Splash of Cider Vinegar
  8. 1 cup chicken broth
  9. 1 cup liquid from slow cooker
Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until carrots are soft when poked with a fork.

Irish Soda Bread

This recipe is an oldie but goodie from the Joy of Cooking. For taste, I substituted zante currants for the raisins. For health, I substituted canola oil for the butter. Every little bit counts, right? You can also use 1/3 cup egg substitute in lieu of the egg if you so choose.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup currants or raisins
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grease or spray your baking sheet.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients (including currants/raisins) with a wire whisk.

3. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients thoroughly.

4. Add wet mixture to dry; stir just until dough is moistened. Do not overmix or bread will become tough.

5. Scrape the batter into a rounded mound on your baking sheet.

6. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into highest part of mound comes out dry.

7. Immediately upon removing from oven, slide loaf onto wire rack to cool.

Beer Floats

Pour a pint glass 2/3 full with Young's Double Chocolate Stout, or a similar beer if you can find it. For floats, we like Young's because of the very chocolaty flavor and subtle alcohol bite. If you were pouring it for drinking, you would want to pour straight into the glass to develop that lovely bottom-up head you get with stouts. In this case, though, you want to try and minimize the head on the glass. The ice cream will foam when you put it in, so its nice to start with a relatively calm beer.

The fixings

Carefully drop in a scoop or two of good quality vanilla ice cream. Eat. Bliss.

Sarah & Ian's Drink Picks:

We cannot, in good conscience, recommend that you drink wine with this meal. If you must honor Saint Patrick with an alcoholic beverage (and we suggest that you do), make it a beer! A toasty Irish red or creamy stout will do the trick.


  1. Definitely going to try the corned beef in the crockpot!


  2. Tried it in the crockpot without water, just the spice packets. Cooked for 10 hours on low - absolutely delicious. Full of flavor and tender and the flat cut did not fall apart. The veggies were just as amazing - not overcooked and the flavor of type came through. I will always make it this way!


  3. You know its a compliment when your Mom says it was good! Thanks for the feedback, mommo. :-)

  4. Those beer floats look amazing. Youngs Double Chocolate is the real deal.