Happy St. Paddy’s Day Monday, March 17.  Looking for a delicious recipe to prepare at home in celebration of Ireland’s snake-slaying saint?  No surprise here: Beer is a must.  As is plenitude of time (about 10 hours) to achieve the best results for this s-l-o-w cooked recipe.  My fam requests that I skip the cabbage, for reasons that probably don’t need much explanation.  Use it at your gastronomical peril…

Serves four, with enough leftovers for the obligatory Reuben sandwiches the day after…)

1 pint       Beer of choice (preferably Smithwicks or Guinness Stout, depending on  your  preference)
1 pint       Water
1               Yellow onion, peeled & quartered
4              Whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 lb.         Corned beef (lean).  Ask your butcher for best cut available.
3              Bay leaves
1 tsp.       Whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp.   Flat leaf parsley, minced, reserving a teaspoon.  (If using dried parsley, use only 1 Tbsp.; add contents of spice packet, if one’s enclosed with meat).

Place meat fat-side down in crock pot, add above ingredients and set on High.  Cover tightly and reduce temperature to Low when beer/water mixture reaches boiling point.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Add more liquid as needed to ensure meat is covered throughout the entire cooking process.

After eight hours, add the following to the crock pot brew:

6 – 8           Small red potatoes, rinsed & halved with skins left on
3                 Carrots, peeled & cut into 1″ pieces (or use ready-to-cook baby carrots)
1 head        Cabbage (if you must), rinsed, trimmed & quartered

Two hours later, you should be in Irish heaven.  Remove potatoes and carrots, placing them in a separate bowl.  Lather with Irish butter (of course!) and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with reserved minced parsley when plating up.  Use a sturdy cutting board to thinly slice the ultra tender corned beef and serve.

Irish soda always bread makes a nice accompaniment.  Check out Martha Stewart’s “Pull Apart” recipe at kitchendaily.com if you want to make it from scratch.  Hey, you’ve got 10 hours to play–might as well go for it!

*Editor’s note:  The myth-busting folks at Kitchen Daily took a closer look at popular Irish fare to find out just how authentic the versions we’ve all come to know and love really are the real deal.

Surprisingly, KD exposed which Irish foods don’t really come from the motherland.  “Irish” stalwarts, the likes of soda bread, beckon back centuries to American Indians who first used pearl-ash, a soda naturally sourced from wood ash to leaven their breads.  KD’s verdict: That fruity, nutty bread?  Definitely NOT Irish in origin. (I’ll still take the Irish version, thank you…)

As for corned beef & cabbage, “A few things got lost in translation during the surge of Irish immigration in the late 1700s and early 1800s, including the [then] traditional Irish staple of pork and potatoes.  Immigrants found Jewish corned beef, cured and cooked like Irish bacon, to be an inexpensive alternative.  With more than enough flavor in the pot, cheap cabbage replaced potatoes as the main vegetable, and the rest is [culinary] history.”

KD’s verdict: Tasty but not Irish.  Who knew????

News Highlights:

Suicide gene?  Remembering Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.  “Experts predicted a spike in suicides after Kurt Cobain killed himself [in 1994].  They [mercifully] were so wrong.”, as reported by Charles R. Cross in the March 12-18 edition of SEATTLE WEEKLY.  Go to seattleweekly.com, to read the riveting article in its entirety.

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