St. Patrick's Day New England Boiled Dinner

on Sunday, 13 March 2011. Posted in Food & Wine

Drink Mead and Eat and Be Irish

NE_boiled_dinner_finishedSt. Patrick’s Day is truly an American holiday. I have friends living in Ireland in the beautiful peninsula of Dingle and it is not celebrated with parades and green beer. But for those of us brought up in New England it is about Boston, green, green beer, shamrocks, and the New England Boiled Dinner. My Dad would always bring home shamrock plants for my Mom and all the fixings for the dinner with an extra large piece or pieces of corned beef. He wanted to be sure there would be corned beef for sandwiches and hash. Mom knew just what to do and the smells of this meal cooking still bring me delight.

Thinking ahead to writing this blog, I went to the farmers market and bought beautiful organic veggies and then went to the store for the corned beef. In early years this was the approved method of preserving beef for delayed use. Putting root veggies in the root cellar meant good eating throughout the winter. St. Patrick ’s Day came before the southern spring fresh veggies would make it up on the train Winter vegetables were used and cooking all day on the back of a wood stove was easy. My Dad frequently reminded me that lettuce wedges with Thousand Island dressing were so special in Maine in the spring because that was all that was left of a head of lettuce after making the train trip.

My tasting committee decided that Mermaid’s Song and Soft Southerly were good choices for wine with the dinner. Each wine gave different finishes on the food. Choices changed depending on whether you were eating corned beef with the honey whole grain mustard or the Spelt and Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread with dried cranberries. I know that you might want a good Irish beer with the meal, but try the mead – it’s a great compliment!


New England Boiled Dinner for St. Patrick’s Day

3-4 pound Flat Brisket Corned Beef. Can use Point Cut

Organic carrots, peeled

Organic green cabbage, core removed and cut into wedges

Organic small boiling potatoes (red looks nice) peeledNE_boiled_dinner_veggies

Organic small-medium onions

Spices: spice packet with corned beef plus bay leaves, peppercorns, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, and a beef bouillon cube

Get your big pot out and after rinsing the corned beef and removing excess fat, place it in. Cover with water by 1”. Add the spice packet plus 2 extra bay leaves, 1 Tablespoon peppercorns, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, and a beef bouillon cube. Place on stove and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours or until fork tender and at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

At two hours cooking time start prepping veggies. How many you use depends on how many people you are serving and what you want to do with leftovers. I like using thinner carrots that only need to be cut in half, smaller onions and potoatoes to be served whole. I often place a wooden toothpick through the cabbage wedges to keep the leaves together while cooking. Place prepared veggies in cold water to store until the pot is ready.

Once the corned beef has reached 150 degrees, add all the veggies and raise the heat under the pot to bring it to boil. 15 minutes or so later check the meat. If it is finished, removed to a plate and cover with foil to rest and finish cooking veggies.

NE_boiled_dinner_cookingYou can do this in a crock pot but putting the meat in first, then the veggies and cover with water and cook for 6 or more hours. The veggies will lose a bit of color but are very tasty.

To serve, slice the corned beef across the grain of the meat. Place slices on plates with wedges of cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Have a honey grain mustard and Irish Soda Bread on the side. Enjoy Mermaid's Song or Soft Southerly mead with the dinner.

©2011 Alice Bean Andrenyak

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