St. Paddy’s Day food influenced by Irish Americans

St. Paddy’s Day food influenced by Irish Americans

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

It’s Friday!  Not St. Patrick’s Day, that’s next Friday. I’m giving you plenty of time to green things up and get ready to serve a delicious Irish meal!  Maybe….
Well according to Irish tradition, St. Patrick was the missionary who first brought Christianity to Ireland and he’s also credited for driving all the snakes off the Emerald Isle but it doesn’t appear that he invented corned beef.  He’s been celebrated anyway for the past thousand years on March 17, which is the day of his death.  And, now St. Patrick’s Day is a worldwide celebration of all things Irish and green.
But it seems that the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal is more of an Irish American creation than a true Irish dish.  Beef was not readily available in Ireland but cheaper cuts of beef were available in the United States so incoming Irish people could afford to feed their families with these brined (preserved) cuts of meat.
And the boiled dinner of meat, cabbage, carrots and potatoes was more of a New England style dish.   But regardless, I’m eating corned beef anyway, just like turkey on Thanksgiving or red beans & rice on Fat Tuesday.  I like traditions…especially food traditions.
So play along next week.  Get your green on and fix (southern Irish) a pot of corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread to celebrate.  And if the luck of the Irish holds out, maybe you’ll have enough corned beef leftover for a tasty grilled Rueben sandwich on Saturday, the best sandwich ever, doesn’t matter that it was probably created by New York City Jewish deli owners!
May the road rise to meet you; may the wind be always at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face; may the rain fall soft upon your fields; and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

St. Patrick’s Day Menu
Everyone’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Corned Beef Dinner
1 3-pound corned beef brisket
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
8 small new potatoes, unpeeled
1 pound baby carrots
1 medium head cabbage, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional
Place brisket in a Dutch oven.  Top with water, garlic, bay leaves, salt, carrots and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 ½ hours.  Add cabbage and caraway seeds; cook, covered for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove bay leaves before serving.  Thinly slice the meat across the grain.  It will melt-in-your-mouth.  Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

Irish Soda Bread
The reaction between the soda and buttermilk makes this dense bread rise.

2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
⅔ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray an 8-inch cake pan with pan spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Add butter, mix together until coarse. Pour buttermilk in another bowl. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins. Shape dough into ball. Place dough in cake pan and flatten slightly. (Do not bring dough to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake bread for 40 minutes, until brown. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter or margarine. Just right for sopping up every last juicy morsel of corned beef and cabbage!

Rueben Sandwich
Turn your kitchen into a New York deli!

Spread Thousand Island dressing on a slice of rye or pumpernickel swirl bread. Place thinly sliced corned beef on bread, top with a slice of Swiss cheese and shredded sauerkraut.  Top with another slice of bread smeared with Thousand Island dressing.  Brush melted butter over each side of sandwich.  Grill in hot skillet or on a Panini press until golden brown. Serve hot! Traditionally served with potato salad.

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