Saint Patrick’s Day is my second favorite holiday, beaten only by the fantastic Thanksgiving. Perhaps it is because both are so centered on food and booze. Or maybe it is because both glorify excess. Whatever the reason, I look forward to both holidays weeks ahead of time.
Yes, I know that in Ireland Saint Patrick’s Day is a holy day. Here in America, we choose to drink instead of pray heavily. Maybe that is another reason why I like it.
At our house, the menu never changes for St. Patrick’s, corned beef and cabbage with soda bread and Guinness. Dessert is more Guinness and Powers Irish whiskey. I prefer O’Hara’s stout, but it is a pain to find anywhere except a good pub.
When it comes to Guinness the only type to buy is the pub draft cans. When poured correctly they taste closest to what Guinness tastes like in a pub. The pub draft bottles are the worst. You will need a pint glass that flairs out into a bell at the top. Pop the can and quickly empty the all the contents into the glass holding the can straight up. This allows the widget in the can to mix nitrogen into the beer. Then wait for the pint to settle.
I prefer to buy the corned beef already packaged at the store. You can buy the meat and then brine it yourself but that takes another day and the result is the same as the packaged. The packaged also comes prepacked with spices.
Corned Beef and Cabbage with Guinness
- 4-5 lb corned beef
- 3 large bay leaves
- 16 whole peppercorns
- 12 juniper berries
- 8-10 large potatoes chopped large skin still on
- 1 pound carrots chopped large
- 8 parsnips chopped large
- 2 small cabbages cored and quartered
- 2 cups white wine
- 4 pints Guinness (plus more as needed)
Rinse corned beef in cold water. Place in large pot and cover with 4 inches water. Bring to a boil and skim any foam. Add all spices. Turn heat down to medium high and cook one hour for every pound. Add water as needed to keep level about the same. Open Guinness and drink. Repeat. At the last hour add all vegetables except cabbage and wine. Cook until potatoes mash easily with back of a spoon. Remove meat from pot and place on a serving dish. Add cabbage to pot and cook until done about three minutes. Fill bowl with a heaping spoonful of vegetables and broth. Top with large slice of corned beef. Serve with Guinness and soda bread.