My Irish roots, like many others, have humble beginnings. But I want to thank my Pop Pop, a witty Irish immigrant, who managed to go the University of Maryland Medical School and become a surgeon, and also his sisters, my great aunts, who toiled in a South Baltimore candy factory so he could achieve an American dream. In this day, we often forget the prejudice toward the Irish in the U.S. and the difficulties they faced.
My grandfather, John Andrew O’Connor, died several years ago, but I’ll always appreciate the legacy of hard work he passed on to me. He practiced mostly at Mercy and used to drive me there when I was a hospital volunteer while in high school. (I wore a blue pinafore, so I can’t say I was exactly a candy striper.) But I’ll never forget those days and wish I had appreciated them more. I do have O’Connor as my middle name, and it’s a wonderful reminder of my heritage.
But as long as I can remember, we never ate corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, so I was a latecomer to the dish. I wish I could say I have a treasured family recipe. I don’t, but I’ve been making this recipe from McCormick for a long time. It’s easy and delicious. And may the luck of the Irish be always with you!
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Makes 8 servings.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
1 corned beef brisket, trimmed (3 pounds)
1 small onion, quartered
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spice
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
8 small red potatoes
2 cups baby carrots or 8 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Place brisket in 6-quart saucepot or Dutch oven. Cover with about 2 quarts water. Add onion, pickling spice and garlic; cover.
Bring just to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 hours. (Do not boil.) Add potatoes and carrots; simmer 30 minutes longer. Add cabbage; simmer 15 minutes longer. Remove brisket and vegetables from saucepot.
Slice brisket across the grain. Mix butter and parsley; brush on vegetables.
Recipe courtesy of McCormick