c “Top o’ the mornin’ to Ya”! A family recipe that I love and want to share is delicious corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. As you probably guessed, our tradition is to have it annually on Saint Patrick's Day! Corned beef is actually not a true Irish dish, it is an Irish-American creation, so on Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland you wouldn't be served this meal. You would likely be served boiled ham, or streaky bacon with cabbage and boiled buttered parsley potatoes called colcannon.
The reason we have this meal on Saint Patrick's Day is because my family has Irish roots, through both my Mom and Dad’s side of the family. My name Jessup was chosen because it is a Gaelic form of the name Joseph which means “May God increase”! I have never been to Ireland, but my Mom visited and said it’s beautiful there. I hope to visit one day. The reason why this recipe means so much to me is because of our proud Irish heritage.
Here’s a little bit of history for you. It all began with my ancestors coming to America following The Great Potato Famine. It was a horrible period of mass starvation and disease, like typhoid. The “blight” was caused by a mold that rotted the potatoes as they grew. The disease spread and wiped out all the crops of potatoes for a long time. Before the famine, potatoes were the major food source for the poor farmers and sharecroppers of Ireland because they were nutrition dense and grew easily in the Irish soil. The expansion of the economy between 1760 and 1815 saw the potato make its way into the diet of the people and become a staple food year round for the Irish. The famine caused the large emigration of the Irish to the US between 1845 and 1852. During the Great Famine an estimated 1 million people died of starvation. The British survived the famine because most of them were absent landowners and lived in England. My Grandma told my Mom, “that those that didn’t die, came to America. God rest their souls' '. Historically, nearly two million emigrated following the famine.
Once in America, jobs were hard to come by. The large numbers of Irish were hated and looked down on. Money was nearly non-existent and the Irish had to feed their families something. Since ancient times and back home before the famine, the meat on their tables was always pork and lamb(sheep or mutton) because it was cheap since they raised and tended their own. Now in America, the beef that had only been raised by and for the wealthy British landowners was cheap enough to feed their families! The tough pieces of brisket were more affordable than the lamb, pork or bacon that they had eaten at home. Pickling and salting the meat helped it to last a long time without spoiling. It also tenderized the meat too! I'm glad they did because it tastes really wonderful and it adds a lot of flavor and an amazing scent! Adding their beloved potatoes and cheap and easily available cabbage gave them a taste of home and started the American tradition.
My mom, like my grandmother, and her mother before her, make corned beef in a pressure cooker, to speed things up. Even though it does take a while for it to be done, the end result is always worth the wait! My Mom does the best! My Sister and I look forward to this every year! Someday, this is a recipe that I know that I will make and pass down to my children.
Jessup Roddy Recipe Name: Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes Recipe Author: Grandma Mary Beatrice Relationship to you: Great Grandmother Ingredients: 3-5 lbs. good quality lean corned beef brisket with spice packet 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped 1 head green cabbage, cored, roughly chopped 1 bottle authentic Guinness Irish Stout 1-2 cups water 1 1/2 lbs. Baby Red Potatoes, washed and scrubbed with the skins on, sliced in half 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped 2 fresh bay leaves Extra Pickling Spice
For the Corned Beef: Put the onions, garlic, spice packet, extra pickling spice(if you need it) and bay leaves in a piece of muslin cloth, or cheesecloth and tie. Put the corned beef into your pressure cooker along with the tied spice bundle. Add the Guinness and 1 or 2 cups of water(enough to barely cover the corned beef) and the 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook on low pressure for 2 hours until the beef is tender. Open the cooker after it de-pressurizes and remove the beef to a platter and keep warm and covered, so it can rest and doesn’t dry out. Here is the trick to great corned beef; wait until ready to serve and slice the meat on an angle against the grain of the meat. This keeps it from being stringy!
For the Cabbage and potatoes: On the stove, bring a large pot of the remaining juices from the corned beef and water to a boil. Add the cabbage and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain
and return them to the pot. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with sliced corned beef and thick slices of some good buttered Irish Soda Bread to soak up the juices!
This is a really delicious picture of corned beef cabbage!