Corned beef and cabbage often gets a bad rap. That's probably because most of us only come into contact with it once a year on St. Patrick's Day, and even then it's usually some sort of sad, sub-par version chased with a plastic cup of green beer. No wonder so many Americans hate it. And, it's so rarely eaten in Ireland these days that some people have even dared to ask the most sacrilegious of questions: Is it even Irish?
Well, here's some news you can use, my friends: Corned beef and cabbage may not get a lot of love, but it is most definitely Irish. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret -- it's about to make a comeback.
But first things first: What is "corned beef" anyways?
Corned beef is simply a cut of of meat -- usually brisket -- that has been "corned," a.k.a. preserved in a dry rub or salty brine. "Corn" refers to the large grains of salt that are typically used in the rub or brine. This method of preserving meat was both popular and necessary in the days before refrigeration, and particularly in Ireland it was an important part of a spring tradition: Beef that had slaughtered in the winter was corned and later served with the first spring cabbage on Easter.
Although corned beef and cabbage is still eaten, it's dwindled in popularity in recent days in Ireland no doubt because most people dismiss it as "peasant food." But with a renewed interest among home cooks, foodies, and professional chefs in the curing and pickling processes, I'm betting we see this traditional food popping up more than ever before.
Do you like corned beef and cabbage?
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