Friday, March 19, 2010

Colcannon & Corned Beef

This year's St. Patrick's Day meal was one of the best I've ever prepared, thanks to my blogging friends! I tried 3 new versions of old favorites & was very pleased with each one.

I'm singing the praises of all 3 blogs today & including each in both
Foodie Friday

at Michael Lee's site, Designs by Gollum

& in the Saturday Blog Showcase.

It is Ann's turn to host that fun meme this week on her blog,
Thibaults Table

We are to make something from another bloggers site & post our photos along with the recipe (if its not copyrighted) to give credit & links to the original blogger.

First off, I made Colcannon from the recipe shown on Cathy's delicious site,
Wives with Knives.

I've seen & made versions of this traditional Irish recipe for years but not all of them included bacon as the starter as well as the fat renderings for cooking the onions & cabbage. This lent a wonderful flavor to the mashed potato dish & I won't make it without bacon ever again.

The second change I made this year was to cook my corned beef in my crockpot but only in 1/2 Cup of water! I know...I was skeptical at first too, so I bought 2 packages of corned beef, just to test it out before company arrived.
This idea came from Sue at her fun blog Rue Mouffetard.

Her instructions were very simple. Put 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of your crockpot, place the rinsed corned beef brisket in with the fat cap facing upwards. Sprinkle in the seasoning packet that comes with it. Cut up 2 onions & scatter them over the top of the meat. Cover & cook on low for 8-12 hours. That's it!

I did one the day before the holiday just to see how I liked it. I didn't like it...I LOVED IT! The flavor was so intense & the meat came out incredibly tender. I placed it on a platter & removed as much fat as possible then chilled it so it would slice nicely the next day. I strained the wonderfully flavored juices & saved those to both reheat the meat in the next day as well as to cook the carrots & cabbage. I had to add a little water to cover the veggies but the flavor remained.

Now, here is where the 3rd blogger's idea came into play.
I read Linda's description of how she did her corned beef on her beautiful blog, How to Cook a Wolf.
(someday I have to ask her how she came up with that title???)

She used leeks & chopped Italian parsley
in the broth & I really wanted to try it her way, too. The recipe she used is from the Silver Palate Cookbook.Corned Beef and Cabbage

From The New Basics Cookbook; Serves 4-6

1 corned beef (5-6 pounds)
2 onions, studded with 3 whole cloves (onions can be halved or quartered)
4 carrots, peeled and halved
2 ribs celery, halved
4 sprigs Italian parsley

1 green cabbage (about 3 pounds), cut into 6 wedges (See *Note below)
12 small red new potatoes
6 small leeks (white part and 2 inches of green), well rinsed (See *Note below)
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
4 T. chopped Italian parsley

Place corned beef in large kettle or dutch oven. Add the onions, halved carrots, celery, and parsley sprigs (use seasoning packet if provided with your corned beef). Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 3/4 to 3 hours, turning beef over in broth every 30 minutes. DO NOT allow water to boil again; keeping at low simmer will ensure tenderness. When it is very tender, remove it from kettle and keep warm.

Strain the broth and return it to the kettle. Add the cabbage, potatoes, leeks, cut-up carrots, salt and pepper, and 2 T. of the chopped parsley. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 minutes.

Arrange beef on warmed serving platter, and surround it with the cooked vegetables. Ladle broth over beef and vegetables, and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. chopped parsley. Optional - serve with Horseradish Cream Sauce (below).

*Note: Keeping the core in the cabbage wedges will help hold them together while cooking. Remove the core before serving. After thoroughly washing, leeks can be tied together with kitchen twine/string; remove for serving. GREAT TIPS!!

Horseradish Cream Sauce

This makes 2 cups of sauce. The recipe can easily be halved or quartered, as needed.

3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup prepared horseradish, drained
2 T. Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Whip cream in bowl until it forms soft peaks. Combine mayonnaise, horseradish, and mustard in another bowl. Fold in whipped cream. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well, and transfer to serving bowl.

I cleaned & cut & tied the leeks just as she suggested & added them plus the parsley to the diluted broth from the crockpot which I then I cooked the carrots & cabbages together in. Leaving the core on the cabbage slices was a helpful tip & it was easily removed, along with the leeks, right before serving.

The horseradish cream sauce is W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L!! I cut the recipe in half because I didn't think I could use up 2 whole cups of it. However, we horseradish so I put in the FULL amount of that one ingredient. It was not too hot at all & my company raved about it. I served it in a pretty little lead crystal pitcher & we're using up the rest of it on our leftover corned beef sandwiches.

Printable Recipe Here.

Note: I found the bolillo buns at our Super Wal-Mart. Who knew??

My thanks to Cathy at Wives with Knives for mentioning them.

They are the perfect sandwich bun!

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes & tips, ladies & thank you to both Michael Lee & Ann for hosting these fun gatherings of foodie fanatics.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm have to go finish putting away all my GREEN stuff.



  1. Ah yes, I am putting away my green stuff too!
    I use a bottle of ginger ale when I cook the corned beef, either on the stove or crock pot. Try it some time.
    And I have given up on the boiled cabbage, I know my parents would be shocked) I like it stir fried with onions and bacon, and seasonings..No more mushy cabbage for me!
    Thanks again for taking part in the crawl.. You went all out!
    On to Easter. :)

  2. I've never tried corned beef before, but yours really looks tempting. Maybe I'll give it a try next St. Patrick's Day. You had commented on my latest post that I was too young to remember lady head vases, but I've actually known of them since I was a little girl. I remember admiring a set on my grandparents' dresser when I was little. The eyelashes always amazed me. I sure wish I had a set of them now! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Come again soon!

  3. What a great post! I'm saving all of your gathered tips :) I love your charming header too!

  4. HI!!!
    Oh gosh those recipes sound so good, you did a marvelous job on the food, Rett, and I am sure your guests loved it all.
    The table decorations were lovely too, what a fun day you had.
    Have a great week-end, hopefully snow is gone for good --for this year anyways!!! Well til next Nov. -Dec.
    Have a great welcome SPring party!!!!

  5. Rett-This looks delicious. The colcannon is on my "to try" list also! I love hearing about people trying other blogger's recipes. That sandwich looks SO tempting!

  6. I just have one thing to say: YUM!!!

  7. This sounds yummy!! We have corned beef and cabbage as well but I will have to try this Colcannon. I have never done much more than just throw the whole mess in the crock pot, bake a loaf of soda bread, put "The Quiet Man" on the dvd player and call it done. Of course I did make Ahnalin a green dress and gave India some shamrock socks. But your day sounds so lovely. I will definitely try this next year.

  8. My goodness - this had me just about drooling on the keyboard!

  9. Hi Rett...glad you enjoyed the recipes...
    everything looks beautiful...thank you for linking to my blog.

    The name comes from a book written by one of my favorite food writers, MFK Fisher..."How to cook a wolf" favorite book of hers...

  10. Rett, your photos are amazing. Your Colcannon jumps off the page.

    I think I will make this next time we have a pork roast.

  11. That horseradish sauce sounds delicious! We love horseradish. I'll have to think of something vegetarian to use it on. ;-)

  12. Wonderful meal. If you got the recipe from the Silver Palate girls it has got to be good. I have bought those buns at Walmart too.
    Win Rachael Ray bake ware at my blog.

  13. Great idea to crock pot the corned beef. And the horseradish cream sounds divine! I love how you put together all three blogs! Brilliant.

  14. What wonderful recipes, Rett. Thanks so much. DH and I both love Colcannon and I have not made it in a while. You have inspired me to give this a try this week. I know it will be wonderful. And now I am also thinking of all the corned beefs on sale this week. Great crockpot recipe. Thanks so so much for the wonderful meal suggestions and recipes.

  15. This meal has me absolutely hypnotized! i am definitely going to try my hand at corned beef next year so I am bookmarking this. I love that you can make it in the crockpot! Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Your kitchen must be a fun place, Rett. I can't find my old Crockpot (from the move), so I'm putting one on my wish list. The cabbage looks delicious! What a meal!

  17. Hi Rett - Your photos with your new Nikon are fantastic! I just got one also and am trying to figure it out. I'm so happy that you enjoyed the colcannon and could find bolillos in a local market. I'm going to cook another corned beef (in the crockpot this time) just so I can make sandwiches and slather them in horseradish cream sauce. I love St. Paddy's Day food.

    Thank you so much for your kind words and for the links to my blog.


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