On St. Patricks Day everybody is a leprechaun for the day. We wear green. We drink green beer. We eat corned beef and cabbage.
Come to think of it, about the only things there that are genuinely Irish are corned beef and cabbage and, from reading a bit about it, the corned beef part came from Irish immigrants in New York City rather than Ireland.
But corned beef and cabbage is a tradition. Just like watching “A Quiet Man” or listening to James Galway flute music or going to a pub for an evening’s revelry celebrating all things Irish.
I’d much rather go into a Jewish deli on Saint Patrick’s day and order a really good “corned beef on rye” with potato salad than boiled to death corned beef and cabbage. But Cheap Bastid has come up with a different way of cooking both corned beef and cabbage along with an authentic version of classic soda bread.
First of all, treat your corned beef like a tri-tip and grill it. And treat the cabbage like a vegetable. Cook it quick, keep the color in it and a bit of “tooth” or crunch, then season it. And, make some real soda bread—it’s easy and tasty and just a bit dense.
But, you’ll put out a meal that’s tasty and inexpensive rather than soggy and bland. Here are 3 links to recipes that CB has written about before. Click on ‘em. Check ‘em out. Give ‘em a try. Then tune into “The Quiet Man”—the memorable fight scene ¾ of the way through is the best part.
Grilled Corned Beef: http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/grilled-corned-beef/
This is a really easy way to cook a corned beef which keeps the texture and flavor of the beef. It only takes about a half hour to 45 minutes rather than letting it bubble away all day in a pot.
Stir Fried Cabbage: http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/st-patricks-day-fried-cabbage/
The easiest way to do this is in a wok. If you don’t have a wok, get out your biggest skillet and if necessary do it in a couple of batches. This has color and crunch because you only cook it for about 5 minutes or so over high heat with just a bit of oil, some onion, a little salt, pepper, garlic and some vinegar.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread: http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/traditional-irish-soda-bread-recipe/
The focus here is on “traditional”. “True” Irish soda bread only has 4 ingredients according to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread. And I figure that any bread that inspires an “official society” for its preservation has to know what it’s talking about. Anyway, this makes a fragrant, dense, flavorful bread that is a perfect companion to grilled corn beef and fried cabbage.
I’ll be cooking this dinner on Saint Patrick’s Day. We’ll enjoy it and then a couple of days later we’ll make Reuben sandwiches with the leftovers which will be another absolute taste treat.
The Cheap Bastid Test: OK looking back at these 3 posts, I spent about $5 on the corned beef, about $1.75 on the fried cabbage and about $.75 on the soda bread. If my arithmetic is right, that comes to $7.50 and this will easily feed 4 adults with some leftovers. That’s a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day feast on the cheap.