Corned beef and cabbage is the centerpiece for many St. Patrick’s Day tables. Even though we really enjoy a boiled dinner, it seems that I only make it once or twice a year — but for sure on St. Patrick’s Day. Corned beef and cabbage is easy, yummy and is a one-pot meal consisting of corned beef or a smoked picnic ham shoulder with cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes. Corned beef can be pretty salty so you may want to rinse before cooking. After the main dinner, I hope I’m lucky enough to have some corned beef left over to make juicy Reuben sandwiches the next day.
■ Corned Beef and Cabbage
● 4 1/2 pounds corned beef brisket
● 5 black peppercorns
● 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
● 1 onion, peeled and left whole
● 2 bay leaves
● 1 pinch salt
● 1 small head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
● 6 large potatoes, quartered
● 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
● 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
● 2 T. butter
In a 6 quart Dutch oven, place the beef brisket, peppercorns, garlic powder, onion, bay leaves and salt. Fill pan with water to cover everything plus one inch. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Skim off any residue that floats to the top. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for two to three hours, until meat can be pulled apart with a fork. Once the meat is done add the cabbage, potatoes and carrots, pressing them down into the liquid. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Skim off any oil that comes to the surface. Stir in the butter and parsley. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove meat from the pot and place onto a serving dish and let rest for 15 minutes. Also remove vegetables to a bowl and keep warm. Slice meat on the diagonal against the grain. Serve meat in bowls and spoon juices over meat and vegetables.
■ Chocolate Mint Brownies
● 1 c. white sugar
● 1/2 c. butter, softened
● 4 eggs
● 1 1/2 c. chocolate syrup
● 1 c. all-purpose flour
● 2 c. confectioners’ sugar
● 1/2 c. butter, softened
● 2 T. creme de menthe liqueur
● 6 T. butter
● 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together 1 c. sugar and 1/2 c. of softened butter until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the chocolate syrup. Stir in the flour until just blended. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely in the pan. In a small bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 c. butter or margarine and creme de menthe until smooth. Spread evenly over the cooled brownies, then chill until set. In a small bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the remaining 6 T. of butter and the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then spread over the top of the mint layer. Cover and chill for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
■ GARY’S TIP: Plastic nubby balls that are made for your dryer work great to do the same thing that fabric softener does. You still get soft wrinkle free clothes. They’re great!
■ FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great!