In honor of the holiday revered throughout New England and celebrated later this week, I thought I would share some family recipes that have been part of the Mahoney family March celebration for many years. The first is a recipe for corning your own corned beef – this will result in a totally different looking piece of meat from the typical corned beef you purchase in the supermarket or butcher store. It is gray in color and retains more of the beefy flavor.
Corned Beef: Dissolve the following in a large bowl or pot (it is not recommended that you use metal or plastic – a glass or ceramic container is best): 1 cup salt, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons allspice, 3-4 cloves minced garlic, 6 whole peppercorns and 8 cups water. Add 2 to 4 pounds beef roast (boneless chuck, bottom or top round, or sirloin can be used). Weigh down with a heavy dish. Refrigerate 2 to 3 days. Remove beef from brine and wrap in Saran Wrap. Discard brine. Put beef in a large plastic bag and freeze for a minimum of 24 hours, or up to eight weeks. When needed, thaw beef, cover with water and simmer for one hour for each pound of beef, or until ‘fork tender’.
For a New England boiled dinner, serve corned beef with boiled potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage. Turnip and beets are optional. Wash and peel all vegetables except cabbage, simmer together in boiling salted water for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. I core and quarter the cabbage and cook in separately for about 15 to 20 minutes. Thinly slice beef, remove vegetables from water, and serve all with spicy mustard and/or horseradish.
A traditional accompaniment is Irish Soda Bread. Again, another recipe from my mom, Ellie.
Irish Soda Bread: Mix 2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup sugar. Add ¼ cup softened butter and work until well blended. Add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds and ½ cup raisins. Beat 1 egg together with 2/3 cup milk. Add to flour mixture to make a soft dough. Place on floured board and shape into round loaf. Place in greased 8” or 9” round pan and bake for about 30 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Remove from oven and spread butter over top of hot loaf. Remove from pan, cool slightly, slice and serve.
Is there a better way to end a delicious meal than with a cup of great coffee? This is definitely not traditional if your roots are from Ireland (since the drink was created in California), but it fits in nicely with the theme of the meal.
Irish Coffee: In a large coffee mug, mix six ounces of freshly brewed coffee with 1.5 ounces of Irish Whiskey and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Float sweetened whipped cream on top (do not mix in) and sip slowly while listening to "Oh Danny Boy.”
Hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day. Send an email about your celebration to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.