Half-way to St. Paddy’s Day Corned Beef

If I’ve learned one thing in my life it’s that you don’t need to find a reason to celebrate and make good food, but if you cook for a special occasion it just makes everything much more fun. September, 17, is half-way to St. Patrick’s day (HWSP), the day when everyone is half-Irish. We had been planning a party all summer for it but in this, my senior year, I’ve learned that we really have grown up (at least a little) and a party means that everyone just wants to cook and eat some really good food.

Our gourmet for today is actually my ever-so-Irish girlfriend Erica Bauwens. She is a senior journalism  major but has always had a passion for cooking. She’s one of the better bakers I know and I’m sure you’ll learn some of her best dessert recipes later in the semester but for HWSP she made one of my favorite things, corned beef and cabbage.

“It’s a tradition at our house that every St. Paddy’s day we make corned beef and cabbage,” Bauwens said. “My mom never cooked much but this is one thing she taught me how to make and it’s my favorite food. And whenever you make it, it just makes the house smell so good.”

Here’s what you need:

  • 4.5-5 lbs. corned beef with flavor packet
  • 4-6 potatoes depending on size
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 4 cans or 48 oz. beer
  • 1 Large pot

To get started, you have to peel and quarter the potatoes.

Then peel and slice the carrots.

Then put them into the pan and place the beef on top of the veggies and cover it with the contents of the flavor packet. Make sure the fat side of the beef is on top so its flavor can drip down to season the rest of the pot and keep the meat juicy.

Once the meat is in, you start filling the pot with the beer. We used Bud light but if you’re feeling extra Irish you can use Harp.

Next you’ll need to cut the cabbage into eighths and put it into the pot. We only had room for about half of the head.

Turn on the burner until the beer starts to boil then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Our pot was a little small and packed full of stuff so we had to cover it with tin foil. If you too must resort to this, make sure to crimp the foil around the edge of the pot to keep as much steam in as possible.

Now all you have to do is wait, and like Tom Petty says, it’s the hardest part. Our gourmet thinks this is a great dish for a beginner to start out with.

“All the flavor is already in the meat so all you really have to do cut everything up and throw it in the pot,” she says. “There isn’t really a way to mess it up.”

After four hours of simmering, it’s finally ready, and it was a beautiful thing.

You’ll know the meat is done because it will be deep red. You’ll want to scrape the fat off and slice the beef before serving to your crowd of hungry friends. This particular batch of corned beef and cabbage was one of the best college-made meals I ever had. When it first came off the stove I fantasized about making reuben sandwiches the next day. By the end of the night however, not a single morsel was left of the beef. It was just too good.

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