Be glory and it’s almost time to celebrate St. Patrick! Even those of us who aren’t Irish can celebrate with shamrocks, greenery and fun.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of those great days that everyone seems to enjoy, and many celebrate with “traditional” Irish foods. Most traditional would be dishes like roast lamb, salmon, shepherd’s pie or colcannon.
But for many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day almost always includes corned beef and cabbage. Ironically, this is a dish that became popular in the Irish immigrant neighborhoods of Boston during The Great Famine era, when many Irish were fleeing starvation back home.
Corned or pickled beef brisket was an inexpensive way to get meat into a large but cash strapped family’s Sunday dinner. Cabbage was one of those vegetables that could “hang on” in a root cellar for a good long time in winter, as were carrots and potatoes that were often added to the pot for variety.
Now, we celebrate with the flavors of corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day when many a Boston Irish housewife might have used it to feed her family on a cold winter Sunday for supper.
But today, we can celebrate the dish for more than just it’s flavors—with most grocery stores selling whole corned beef briskets, you can pull together this meal with just five ingredients in no time and just let it simmer in a slow cooker all afternoon.
Simply pick up one of those prepackaged corned beef briskets at the grocery store. Add carrots, potatoes and cabbage to your cart. Most of the corned beef sold this time of year in the supermarket comes in a large packages between 3 and 5 pounds.
I always suggest buying extra, so you can enjoy a Rueben sandwich later in the week. The corned beef package will also usually include a small package of pickling spices. If you are worried about not having one, pick up a box or bottle of those too.
Then add a four pack of canned Guinness Draught to the cart — don’t go for the extra stout or your meal will be bitter. Add some Irish butter and cheese, some rolls or soda bread and a dessert. Now you have all you need for a lovely St. Patrick’s Day meal this Sunday.
Put your corned beef and veggies into the slow cooker or a Dutch oven about four hours before you want to eat, cover it and let it go. Relax and enjoy an easy Sunday afternoon, dinner will be delightful!
Slow Cooker Guinness Corned Beef Dinner
One 3-5 pound corned beef brisket
Pickling spices if the package of corned beef didn’t include them
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 large red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
1 medium head of cabbage
2 cans Guinness Draught Stout (not extra stout)
Lay the carrots and potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Take the corned beef from its package and lay it fat side up over the carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle it with pickling spices. Cut the cabbage into wedges, removing the core as you go. Lay the cabbage around the top of the corned beef. Pour in enough Guinness to cover the corned beef. Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn it on high and let it cook for four hours. Arrange the corned beef on a platter surrounded by the vegetables. Enjoy with some sharp mustard.