It’s St. Patrick’s Day once again. As we all know, St. Patty’s Day is a holiday for the drunk and brash, for those who know how to hold their liquor and pummel through a plate of cabbage. While this is, historically, a fairly accurate portrayal of St. Patrick’s Day (since fasting and drinking were lifted on this day even though it falls during Lent) this is not what the day has at its heart. St. Patrick is considered the foremost patron saint of Ireland; he spent much of his life teaching the pagan Irish about Christianity and died holding steadfast to his religion and its teachings. Once Christianity took its strong hold in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has been held as an official or unofficial holiday ever since. The first Irish St. Patrick’s Day parade was put together in 1931.
St. Patrick’s Day means something almost completely different in America. Though the shamrocks, the feasting, and the celebration are largely the same, the meaning of St. Patty’s Day is very different; since immigration to the US by the Irish was predominantly by Protestants, the holiday’s religious implications were all but forgotten, and St. Patty’s Day festivities were meant merely to honor Irish heritage. Americans, both Irish and non-Irish, have been holding St. Patrick’s Day parades since the late 1700’s. Mostly, though, we focus on the drinking part of the holiday.
It is the first St. Patrick’s Day that I am 21, and of legal age to be out and about, stumbling down the sidewalk like a drunken hooligan and throwing up in bushes. While this may sound like fun, I’m probably the patron saint of moderation when it comes to alcohol. Besides, we have some St. Patrick’s Day traditions of our own here. As I write, my partner is fixing me as good of an Irish breakfast as he can while we jam out to some Irish tunes on a podcast. Later on, we intend to put on our green and trek to Stewart’s, as all Eastern upstate New Yorkers know has 50 cent ice cream on St. Patty’s Day if you wear green. And our ultimate plan? Maybe go have a drink or two after we make some delicious corned beef! We have recently discovered the perfect way to cook corned beef: Guiness and brown sugar. And that’s it! Our secret is that we soak the corned beef for a day or two before we plan to eat it in plain ol’ water; this helps draw out some of the salt that cures the corned beef but is sometimes a bit too salty for our tastes. Enjoy!
Corned Beef and Vegetables
3 pounds corned beef
1 12 oz. can Guinness
1 cup brown sugar
Potatoes (limit to 5)
-Soak corned beef 24-48 hours to draw out the salt and make meat super tender.
-Place Guinness, brown sugar, and corned beef in 6 qt. crock pot liner and let marinate in refrigerator for about 4 hours.
-Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and cook corned beef for an 1 and 1/2 hours.
-Remove crock from the oven and add potatoes, carrots, and pinto beans. Add more water if desired, but it is not necessary. Place back in oven and cook for additional hour.
-Remove from oven and enjoy!!
Hint: Later on, I’m going to try to turn the sauce into a kind of “gravy” for the pinto beans by adding a little vinegar and flour to thicken it up. Then, the beans will be even more like baked beans (hopefully). I’ll post later about the experience!
We will munch on this delicious and hearty meal with a side of sauerkraut, a German addition but, alas, the only way I really like to eat cabbage (and this we both agree on). This week, we bought a loaf of rye bread to enjoy our leftover corned beef on. There is also a block of swiss cheese and the possibility of homemade thousand island dressing in the air, and as we clammer into the living room now to laugh at an Irish comedy, St. Patrick’s Day feels as though it is upon us.