Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Erin Go Bragh!

I know I astounded you with my knowledge of French during Mardi Gras. I cannot claim the same aptitude with Gaelic. Reading a lot of Irish authors, I have picked up some pronunciations, but not actual words.

So I have no idea what Erin Go Bragh means. I know Erin refers to Ireland, and even if you didn't know that you could assume it had some Irish connotation because I guarantee you'll be hearing a lot of it on St. Patrick's Day.

Some other phrase you might hear on St. Patrick's Day include:
Would you like another beer?
Kiss me I'm Irish
Where's your green?
and of course -
Are you having corned beef and cabbage?

I think I read somewhere that corned beef and cabbage isn't a traditionally Irish dish, that it's actually an Irish-American concoction. Which makes sense. When the Irish came over to America they had nothing. And they weren't looked upon as the favored children. It was rough times.

Know who else had rough times coming over to America? The Jews. Yup, poor, disliked, turned away from everywhere. The Jews and the Irish were siblings from another mother. So it should be no surprise that they developed similar recipes using cheap cuts of meat. The Jews have their brisket, and the Irish had the corned beef and cabbage.

Growing up, we had neither. Well, of course there were corned beef sandwiches, but you got those from the deli, you didn't make your own corned beef! When Thatboy and I married and moved in together, he mentioned how much he missed corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. And so a new tradition was born. Since most of our married years have been spent with me getting home much later than Thatboy, we cook the corned beef together - I sit on the phone with him giving him directions as he does the physical labor. So far it's turned out alright.

One corned beef feeds far more than the two of us, but that's okay because leftovers can always be turned into corned beef hash! We add some beets to our corned beef and cabbage, and then use the leftover beets, leftover potatoes and the leftover corned beef to create a "Red Flannel Hash."

Corned Beef and Cabbage
4-5 lbs corned beef
4 onions, peeled
6 potatoes, peeled
8 beets
6 carrots, peeled
6 turnips
1 green cabbage, quartered and cored

  1. Rinse the corned beef under running water to remove the brine. Place in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  2. Add the onions and potatoes, cook for 15 more minutes.
  3. While they're cooking, in another saucepan, boil the beets in water for 35 minutes, drain.
  4. Add the carrots and turnips to the corned beef pot, and cook for another 30 minutes.
  5. Take out the beef and veggies and bring the remaining broth to a boil. Add the cabbage and boil for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve the corned beef with the onions, potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets and cabbage.

Red Flannel Hash(From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
2 cups cooked corned beef
2 cups chopped boiled potatoes
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 cup diced cooked beets
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp heavy cream

  1. Mix the beef, potatoes, onions, beets, pepper and salt to taste.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet. Spread the beef mixture on the bottom of the skillet and press down with spatula.
  3. Fry over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes. Once it is nicely browned, turn the hash over (slide it onto a dinner plate and invert the dinner plate over the skillet)
  4. Pour the cream evenly over the meat and cook another 15-20 minutes, until the second side is nicely browned.


  1. Plenty of leftovers for my favourite Reuben sandwiches.Erin go bragh basically means Ireland Forever.

  2. Well I have NO idea what Erin go bragh means either but I DO know that that corned beef looks delish. There's a reason why that cheap cut of meat has traversed so many cultures and that's because it's delicious!

  3. I have actually never made corned beef before, but once I saw the recipe in my Joy of Cooking have been dying to try it out. I remember how great it was when my mom made it.