I can offer no real explanation. I happen to love St. Patrick’s Day.
Ironically, many of the things we associate with St. Patrick’s Day are neither traditional nor Irish. While today, bars are known for flowing kegs of green beer, St. Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1961. Speaking of St. Patrick, he was actually a Britain and was born Maewyn Succat - not Irish and obviously not a Patrick. Finally, the perennial run on brisket for corned beef is decidedly American, as early Irish immigrants went for the lower cost beef. While pork was cheap in Ireland, it was not in the US.
So, back to my premise, what is it about St. Patrick’s Day? Well, another thing, it certainly isn’t about green beer. The only difference between bad beer and green beer is green food coloring. Looking for a good beer, think the traditional Guinness.
Looking to branch out? I recommend going north to Scotland and Belhaven Scottish Stout.
Guinness is good. Belhaven is better, with an even fuller mouthfeel packed full of sweet malt with hints of molasses and a nice, much like its drinker, nuttiness. Not Irish, yes, but better.
Part of the appeal of St. Patrick’s Day is not only it's celebration of Irish culture, but the fact it’s a gateway to spring. All day parties, great food, fabulous Irish music, lots of good beer, and yes, plenty of green.
While not traditional per se, I’m all about corned beef. While cabbage is a typical corned beef companion, I always opt to pair my beef with colcannon, the traditional Irish cabbage potato dish, presented here with plenty of extra greens. It’s a holiday after my own heart - and, rather appropriately, my stomach.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Potato
5 russet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large leek, only white and light green parts, halved and sliced thinly
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 head napa cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1. Steam the potatoes in a large pot until easily pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.
2. Move the potatoes to a bowl and wipe the pot clean. Return the potatoes to the pot and add half the butter, the milk, 3/4 t Kosher salt, and 1/4 t pepper. Mash.
3. Melt the remaining butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add the leek and shallots. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the kale, and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the napa cabbage and toss until tender, but still crisp, about 8 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cover and stir. Let sit for a minute, then transfer to bowls. Sprinkle with the green onion and serve.
Based somewhat on Bon Appetite adapted for the grill by Another Pint Please
2-3 pounds uncooked corned beef brisket
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 bay leaves, torn
1 T black peppercorns
1 T coriander seeds
1 T yellow mustard seeds
For this recipe, I used the Wok accessory from the Weber Gourmet BBQ System. A cast iron dutch oven work will too.
Prepare the grill for medium high indirect heat, 350-400 F, with the charcoal pushed to either side of the grill and nothing in the middle.
1. Place the corned beef in the wok and add enough water to cover by at least an inch.
3. Lower the lid as much as possible over the wok and allow the water to come to a boil. With the wok directly over the coals, the wok is pushed to the outside of the grill meaning the lid will not close all the way. For this step, no problem. We want the heat up to boil the water, which will happen with the lid open and more oxygen moving through the coals.
4. Once boil is achieved, move the wok to the center of the grill. Lower the lid and gate the top and bottom vents down to lower the temperature to direct medium, approximately 250-300 F.
Allow the corned beef to simmer until tender, 3 1/2 - 4 hours. Skim the liquid and add additional water as needed.
Most certainly, corned beef can be cooked indoors.
However, the additional layer of flavor the grill lends the dish is worth the extra effort. Even in the snow.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!