Many people save the corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, but I like to cook ours in honor of St. Brigid. The first reason for this is purely practical. St. Patrick’s Day often falls during Lent, and our family abstains from meat during the holy fast. The second reason why I love having corned beef for St. Brigid’s Day is because Brigid worked so closely with cows as a dairy girl. I think the traditional boiled beef and vegetables slathered with butter is the perfect meal to celebrate this humble, holy woman.
Traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage
1 corned beef brisket
carrots, about 2 per person
potatoes, about 1 per person
green cabbage, about 1/2 head for 4 people
Place the beef in a large stockpot along with any accumulated juices and spices in the package. Cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and boil, covered, for 1 hour per pound of meat.
Prepare the vegetables while the beef is cooking. Peel the carrots, trim the ends, and cut the carrots into 2’’ pieces. Peel the potatoes and quarter them. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, then core it and cut it into large chunks. During the last half hour of cooking time, add the vegetables to the stockpot with the beef.
Remove the meat and vegetables to a platter. Serve with plenty of sweet butter and a grinding of black pepper. I recommend smashing the potatoes on your plate with a fork and melting a dollop of butter on them while still piping hot. Some people serve his meal with soda bread, but our family has always preferred it plain. We serve this traditional soda bread for breakfast, instead.
St. Brigid, holy patroness, pray for us!
Photo credit: Carrie at Our Life in Food