Happy St. Patrick’s Day! March 17th is the day that Americans wear green clothes, drink green beer, and eat a typical Irish meal: corned beef and cabbage. It’s not St. Patrick’s Day without this delicious dish!
What IS corned beef? Despite the name, there is no “corn” in “corned” beef. The word “corn” comes from the “corns” (large pieces) of salt used to salt-cure the beef.
The origins of corned beef are unknown: cultures have been salt-curing beef for thousands of years. Surprisingly, corned beef is not considered a traditional Irish dish: the true Irish dish typically used pork, and the beef version was made popular by Irish immigrants in the United States. (The immigrants substituted beef for pork because the price of beef was very low in the U.S.)
Today, corned beef is a staple of St. Patrick’s Day and many American restaurants serve this dish for just one day each year. Check out your local restaurants to sample this dish while you can; if you love it, follow the recipe below to make it throughout the year!
Corned Beef and Cabbage recipeRecipe adapted from Martha Stewart
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
- 1/2 pound small potatoes
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1 corned beef brisket (about 3 pounds), plus pickling spice packet or 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- 1/2 head Savoy cabbage, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
- Grainy mustard for garnish
- Put the cut celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and thyme in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.
- Place the corned beef on top of vegetables (make sure to put it fat side up).
- Season the corned beef with pickling spice
- Add water so that the meat is nearly covered (4 to 6 cups).
- Cover and cook on high until corned beef is tender, 4 1/4 hours (or 8 1/2 hours on low).
- Add the cabbage to the corned beef, cover, and continue cook until the cabbage becomes soft, about 45 minutes (or 1 1/2 hours on low).
- Thinly slice corned beef against the grain and serve with vegetables, cooking liquid, and grainy mustard.
Words with Irish Origins
English has borrowed words from many languages, including Irish. Check out some of these nouns that are commonly in English, but are believed by many scholars to originally be Irish (Gaelic) in origin.
Bother (noun and verb)
Definition: a person who annoys others; to annoy others.
Etymology: It’s possible that this word comes from pother, which means ‘to cause a commotion’ or ‘to bustle about busily.’ It is believed that this word comes from the word for noise in Irish, which is bodhraim.
Definition: a wild person who usually breaks the rules or causes trouble.
Etymology: The origin of this word is traced back to a famous (and infamous) Irishman, Patrick Hoolihan, who lived in London at the end of the 1800s. Apparently, he and his family were quite the troublemakers (and perhaps also made a lot of bodhraim).
Definition: an unclean or lazy person.
Etymology: The original Irish word, slab, means “mud”. . . but the word has come to be used to describe a very lazy or unclean person.
Definition: a large number or quantity of something.
Etymology: The Irish word, sluagh, means “crowd or multitude.” The word was brought to North America by Irish immigrants, and interestingly, this word is used MORE in the United States than in Ireland. but it entered the English language in the United States.
Etymology: The word “trousers” comes from the English word trowse, but its roots can be traced even further back to the Irish word triubhas.