St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday this year, so expect the green beer be flowin’ and the music and jigs be growin’ more than usual. Are you planning to celebrate, beyond wearing something green? Since it’s also National Corned Beef &Cabbage Day (big surprise) it seemed fitting to explore beyond the traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner. Here’s what I found that might be fun to try.
Stuffed Savory Cabbage
Why not put the beef inside the cabbage? Cook the corned beef a day ahead; the next day, stuff the cabbage a few hours early to let the flavors blend. Recipe adapted from “Gourmet with Ease” by Joyce Swetland; makes 4 servings.
1 head of cabbage
Approx. 1 pound cooked corned beef, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cans stewed tomatoes (8 ounces each)
4 tablespoons Tarragon vinegar
1 can tomato soup (8 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
Blanch cabbage head in boiling water for 10 minutes or until leaves unfold easily. Drain, separate leaves from the head; set aside. In a large bowl, combine chopped corned beef, rice, sage, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, carrots and pine nuts until well blended. In a large pot combine 1 can of the stewed tomatoes and the vinegar. Add any unused cabbage leaves from the center portion to the pot, in a single layer. On each of the reserved cabbage leaves, place about 1/4 cup of meat mixture; fold over all edges to completely enclose filling. Place each roll into the pot in a single layer as you complete them. When done with one layer, start on the next. When all cabbage and filling has been used, add tomato soup and the other can of stewed tomatoes to the cabbage. Cover; simmer over low heat about 2 hours or until rice is cooked thoroughly. If not using right away, cool then refrigerate until ready to reheat gently.
Beef, Beer &Vegetable Stew
Combine all the flavors of St. Pat’s Day in one pot. Dark beer adds rich flavor and color to this savory stew. Recipe adapted from “Dining for Two” by Weight Watchers International; makes 2 servings plus leftovers.
1 pound corned beef brisket, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup dark beer, such as Guinness or stout
5 carrots, cut into half-inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into half-inch pieces
1 small head cabbage, cored, cut into rough chunks
1- 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
Put beef, flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a plastic zip lock bag; shake bag until beef is evenly coated with flour mixture. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the beef; cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and beef. Add onion and garlic to pot; cook, stirring frequently and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 5 minutes. Return beef to pot; stir in broth, beer, carrots and parsnip. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 1 hour. Add cabbage chunks and simmer, covered until beef and vegetables are fork-tender, about 15 minutes longer. Stir the thyme into stew and simmer 2 minutes; serve hot.
Corned Beef Empanadas
This is actually a Chilean recipe that uses corned beef instead of ground beef, in savory little pastries. While not officially part of the recipe, some finely chopped cabbage could easily be added to the filling, perhaps as a substitute for half of the olives. Recipe from “All Around the World Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins; makes 60 small, party-worthy empanadas.
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces cooked corned beef, shredded
1/2 cup chopped pitted black olives
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt to taste
1 pound phyllo dough*
1 cup butter, melted
In a small bowl, toss raisins with the rum; set aside for 30 minutes. Heat oil in a heavy casserole over low heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and pepper flakes, then add corned beef and stir to combine. Add raisin-rum mixture and olives; stir well. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Fold in the eggs and parsley; add salt to taste. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, while preparing dough.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lay phyllo pastry sheets on a clean dry dish towel. Keep covered with a piece of waxed paper and a slightly dampened dish towel so that dough does not dry out. Place 1 sheet phyllo lengthwise in front of you on a clean work surface. Using a pastry brush, lightly cover surface with melted butter. Cover with a second sheet of phyllo; brush again with butter. Cut dough into six 3-inch-wide strips (the short way) and place a teaspoon of filling an inch from the bottom in center of each strip. Fold a corner across filling, then continue to fold the triangle, as if folding a flag, to the end of the strip. Tuck the end under. Repeat to use all filling and dough. Place finished triangles on a baking sheet; brush with butter, and bake each filled sheet until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.
*Phyllo dough is available in 1-pound boxes in the frozen section of your market. Follow package directions for thawing dough.