Though everyone is irish on St. Patrick’s Day, I am proud to say I am authentically (at least a little bit) irish 365 days a year. I do love that the holiday of my heritage is one everyone eagerly claims as their own each year on March 17th. And who can blame them? After all, it is a day devoted to camaraderie, a day of sharing pitchers of green beer and wearing gaudy green hats, neon green wigs, flashing light-up necklaces, and green t-shirts all in the hopes of having a little fun, getting (or giving) a kiss or two, and honoring the great man who brought Christianity to Ireland, although the latter part is often lost amidst the many pints of Guinness.
It is the only holiday whose sole focus is purely to enjoy each others company. There are no gifts to buy, no cards to write, no huge feasts to cook, no costumes to don, no dates to find or resolutions to be made. It is, perhaps, the only holiday completely void of any expectation; the only goal of St. Patrick’s Day is to have fun. Maybe that is why so many celebrate it so willingly. I have always loved this day that is purely about camaraderie; it just makes me happy.
Though my St. Patty’s festivities have become slightly more low-key since I’ve had kids, I still think it’s important to find ways to celebrate the day. I’ve made it a point to do irish crafts, activities, and play irish games with them on March 17th. Please note: when I say”…do irish crafts, activities, and play irish games…” that they are not traditional crafts or games played by the children of Ireland, but usually contain some reference to a leprechaun, a shamrock, a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and bingo cards containing pictures of such traditional irish symbols.
We then, of course, eat a stereotypical irish feast of corned beef and cabbage. Yes, I know, people in Ireland don’t actually eat this on St. Patrick’s day, but it still makes me feel like I am paying homage to my irish kin, even if they are all rolling over in their graves.
Below is the recipe for corned beef and cabbage that I have used now for 11 years. I am not sure where I originally found it, but it was a huge hit at my first St. Patrick’s Day party so I have stuck to it every year. It has since become more than a simple meal, but has transformed into an eagerly anticipated event we share as a family on this special day to commemorate our irish heritage. This year I may add an irish potato pancake to go along with it or some irish soda bread.
Don’t forget to further honor the Emerald Isle by listening to some authentic irish tunes while enjoying this deliciously easy irish feast.
Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Currant-Mustard Sauce
2 1/2-3 lbs. boneless corned beef brisket
3 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
2 medium onions, cut lengthwise into quarters
3 1/2 cups water
1 lb. green cabbage, cut into 3-inch wedges
1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
6-8 small carrots, tops trimmed, cut crosswise into thirds
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt and pepper
1. Place celery and onions in a slow cooker; top with corned beef. Add corned beef seasoning package, if included, and 3 1/2 cups water. Cover and cook on high 7 hours or on low 9 hours until brisket is fork tender. Remove brisket and set aside.
2. Place cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in a microwave-safe casserole dish; add 1/2 cup water. Cover and microwave on high 15 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring once. Drain veggies; add butter and salt and pepper. Toss to coat
3. Carve brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with veggies and Red Currant-Mustard Sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 6-8.
Red Currant-Mustard Sauce
1 jar (12 ounces) red currant jelly
3 tablespoons coarse grain Dijon-style mustard
1. Place jelly in microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until smooth, stirring once. Whisk in mustard. Cover and microwave on high 30 seconds.