Happy St Patrick’s Day!!
There are so many reasons to love St Patrick’s Day…the celebration of St.
Patrick, the fact that spring is just around the corner, the days are getting longer, the crocuses are blooming, the snow piles have melted away, and best of all…it is time for corned beef!!
I just love corned beef…with potatoes, carrots and cabbage, as a sandwich or as hash, you name the preparation, I will eat it! Sadly, corned beef seems to be one of those dishes that we don’t think of having at any time of the year other than St Patrick’s Day. As is typical, I will be preparing well over a hundred pounds of corned beef this week and certainly will plan to have some left over. While many of my customers order the Irish staple, it just wouldn’t be St Patty’s Day in the McGraw household without a family get together that includes corned beef, cabbage (and of course, a green beer or two)!
Corned beef is a very simple meat to prepare, but to do so you must have
patience…it is not a quick cook entrée, for sure! Because it is a brisket cut, it requires a longer cook time to become the tender, melt in your mouth delicacy we all love. I prefer to simmer it, either in the crock pot or on the stove top, but, it can also be baked or braised, again for a long time (I’m talking hours!) at a low temperature. You can cook your corned beef with plain tap water, but I prefer to infuse extra flavor by adding apple juice or beer to the water as my braising liquid, along with the most common flavor addition to corned beef, pickling spices.
A big plate of tender, sliced corned beef, savory carrots, buttery potatoes, cabbage with a splash of malt vinegar and a thick slice of Irish soda bread…now that is a perfect St Patrick’s Day dinner, you say? Well in our house, a true corned beef dinner plays second fiddle to the Rueben sandwiches and Red Flannel Hash we enjoy the next day. My husband is the king of Reuben sandwiches. He can make a mouth-watering corned beef sandwich that even a non-lover will enjoy! Don’t tell him I said so, but I think his secret is using Bavarian sauerkraut. Bavarian sauerkraut, unlike plain sauerkraut, is a little sweeter and contains caraway seeds. It just adds that special something to those yummy grilled sandwiches!
My contribution to the redemption of left-over St Patrick’s Day dinner is the corned beef hash (also known as red flannel hash) I make the next day. Talk about comfort food and a hug in a bowl! You definitely get that in a big, steaming plate of hash. Since I will have that big stock pot full of the broth that resulted from simmering my meat, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, instead of just dumping it down the drain, I will save it to cook extra potatoes. The broth has wonderful corned beef flavor that will be infused into the potatoes as they cook. As simple as it is to do, we often forget about the wonderful flavors that can be infused into our starches, such as potatoes, rice and pastas, by simply using flavored broths (stocks) to cook them in.
If it is left over, chances are pretty good it can have a second life in some wonderful new form. You just need to be willing to “repurpose” your left-overs creatively, and voila! Less clutter in your fridge and something great on your plate!
Red Flannel Corned Beef Hash
- 1 lb corned beef, chilled
- 1 lb cooked potatoes
- 1 T minced onion
- ¼ t garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 T Fresh parsley, chopped
In a food processor, pulse to coarsely chop corned beef. Move meat to a mixing bowl. As with meat, pulse to coarsely chop potatoes (although I prefer to use a potato masher rather than the processor for the potatoes; you will get a chunkier texture for your hash).
Add potatoes, onion, salt, pepper and parsley to the bowl with the meat and gently mix to incorporate.
In a hot, lightly oiled pan, fry hash until heated through and crispy on the edges.
Serve with eggs, if desired.
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