A festive Irish-American dish, corned beef, cabbage and potato platter was traditionally served on St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is more traditional to serve the corned beef sliced, arranged on a platter surrounded by cabbage wedges and floury potatoes and, optionally, other root crops like carrots. This is the soup version.
The dish is Irish-American? Not traditional Irish? Not according to what I’ve read. There might be more literature out there claiming the opposite but, from what I’ve gathered, the Irish ate ham and bacon, not corned beef.
“Is Corned Beef Really Irish?” from Smithsonian says that, in Ireland, the cow was a “symbol of wealth” and only slaughtered when too old to work the fields or to produce milk. Hence, corned beef was not a common dish on the Irish table.
It wasn’t after the beef-loving English successfully completed their re-invasion of Ireland during the 16th to the early 17th century that cattle became a commodity and corned beef (beef preserved with salt crystals the size of corn kernels) was born. Although Ireland was exporting corned beef to America and elsewhere in Europe, the average Irish was too poor to afford it.
But after the Irish started arriving in America, corned beef was a-plenty and affordable. Free lunch for construction workers building New York early in the 20th century consisted of corned beef. In New England, boiled beef, cabbage and potatoes became a traditional dish among the Irish immigrants.
So, again, this is corned beef, cabbage and potato soup. Irish-Americans serve all components of the dish, side by side, on a platter. Like English roast beef except that the meat and vegetables are boiled rather than roasted in the oven.
- Cut the corned beef into two-inch cubes.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly the same size as the corned beef cubes.
- Cut the cabbage into wedges. You may optionally cut off and discard the core.
- Heat the bone broth in a pot.
- Drop in the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are done.
- Taste the broth. If your bone broth was originally unseasoned or under-seasoned, you may want to add salt and pepper before serving the soup.
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