Whether you just stepped off a boat from Dublin or don't have an ounce or Irish blood in you, you'll most likely be doing some kind of celebrating when St. Patrick's Day rolls around next week. I'm not much into the whole green beer thing, but I must confess that this Italian girl loves a good corned beef and cabbage feast. But, as you probably already know, I can rarely leave a good thing be. So, I've put together a tricked out version of the original for you adventurous souls out there.
It all starts with the slow cooker. I gathered together all of the ingredients for a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and prepared it in my crock pot. After that, I separated the components and made three separate dishes with them. My corned beef was baked with a delicious apricot-spicy mustard glaze. With some of the cabbage, onion and potatoes, I made Colcannon augmented by the judicious use of some nice, thick bacon. Then, I used the rest of the cabbage and sauteed it with onion, cider vinegar and yes, MORE BACON!
Just look at these beautiful little cabbages! Aren't they gorgeous? These beauties came out of the last harvest from my Uncle Sal's garden. They were the tenderest, sweetest cabbages I'd ever tasted. Cooking with them was definitely a bittersweet experience, but I think he would have approved of the end result.
The great thing about this dinner is that most of the ingredients are already cooked in the slow cooker once, so preparing the individual dishes hardly takes any time at all. You can even do it all in advance and refrigerate until you're ready to make the individual recipes. Also, you can cook all of the bacon for the Cabbage Saute and the Colcannon at once and divide it for each dish, like I did.
Please don't let the quality of my photographs deter you from trying any of these recipes. In the first place, mashed potatoes and cabbage are not the most photogenic foods around. In the second place, that corned beef turned out so incredibly tender, that it just fell apart as I tried to slice it. In the third place, I had to work reeeeeallllly fast because my hungry natives were getting restless! All three of these dishes were absolutely scrumptious!
Tricked Out St. Patrick's Day Dinner
Apricot-Mustard Glazed Corned Beef
1 large sweet onion, cut into quarters
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 (3 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
1 large or 2 small heads of cabbage, cut into wedges
For the Glaze:
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy deli mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons kumquat or orange syrup (optional)
Place the onion and potatoes in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine broth, water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, and contents of spice packet; pour over vegetables. Top with brisket and cabbage. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.
Carefully remove corned beef from the slow cooker and place in a shallow roasting pan.
Mix all glaze ingredients together in a bowl. Pour over corned beef. Bake 30-40 minutes, until glaze is nice and bubbly.
Remove corned beef to a platter, slice on the diagonal and serve.
4-5 slices thick cut bacon
1/2 of the reserved cabbage from slow cooker, sliced into strips
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and cut up into small pieces. Set aside.
In about 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon drippings, (Save the rest for later.), saute the onion until very soft. Add cabbage and the rest of the ingredients and saute until liquid is absorbed and all is heated through.
Reserved potatoes from slow cooker
1/2 of the reserved cabbage, cut into small chunks
4 strips bacon
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1/4 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons butter (preferably Irish)
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Smash them up a bit and set aside.
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, saute onion until very soft. Add the cabbage for the last few minutes and continue to saute so that the cabbage absorbs some bacon flavor.
Mix the half and half into the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and top with butter.