Corned beef – what is it? Found now pre-packaged in grocery stores, is a big piece of flat-cut brisket that has been cured in a brine seasoned with pickling spices (which may include: cinnamon, mustard seed, bay leaves, allspice, dill seed, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, mace, cardamom, and even crushed hot peppers). The term “corned” comes from the original English use of the word “corn” meaning small particle, and refers to using grains of salt to preserve meat before refrigeration.
A one-pot meal of corned beef and cabbage (sometimes referred to as New England Boil) has become a St. Patty’s Day tradition in our houses. Not because it is a traditionally Irish (we have heard it said that it is more of an American thing), but because it is easy and fun. Serve it with a heady glass of Guinness. Think green, and hope for a little luck.
Note: At our local Whole Foods, all of the ingredients for this meal, including the Guinness are located in a large bin next to the meat counter. It makes for really quick shopping.