St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love wearing green and preparing our traditional St. Paddy’s Day dinner: corned beef and cabbage. I cook this meal at home because it’s easy to prepare and everyone loves it. Not much makes me happier than watching my loved ones relish the meals I prepare for them — corned beef and cabbage being a major favorite.
Making corned beef and cabbage at home could not be easier. I place the corned beef (any cut), fat side up, at the bottom of my crock pot. I add the seasonings, followed by quartered onions and cabbage. Then I cover and cook on high for about 5 hours and serve. It’s literally that easy! I boil quartered potatoes and carrots on the stove to be served on the side along with butter, good mustard and vinegar. Note: Berkshire Organics is a great place to pick up organic cabbage, onions, potatoes and carrots at competitive prices!
Because I love tradition and because I love to bake, I also bake soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day using “Omi’s Soda Bread Recipe.”If you don’t have time to bake, you can pick up some store-baked soda bread or, also enjoyable and super easy, just serve sliced rye bread on the side. Pittsfield Rye Bread Bakery makes fabulous rye breads that can be bought at almost all of the local grocery stores. St. Paddy’s Day is also a good excuse to make baked goods with chocolate and beer (a rich and surprising wonderful combination!) like Guinness Black & Tan Cupcakes or Guinness Cake Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle.
Omi’s Soda Bread Recipe:
- 3.5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2teaspoon baking soda
- 1teaspoon salt
- 1 pint plain Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons caraway seed
- 3/4 cup currants (or raisins)
- Extra egg for glaze, if desired
- Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
- In small bowl, beat eggs and stir in yogurt.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir well. Batter will be thick.
- Add currants or raisins and caraway seed. Stir or knead with hands. You may need to add a bit of flour if it’s too sticky.
- Shape batter into two rounds on a greased cookie sheet.
- Dust op with a bit of flour so you can shape without sticking.
- Cut a crisscross on top of loaf. Beat egg and brush surface of bread, if desired.
- Bake for 50 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.
* Speaking of soda bread, have you heard of the Little Drummers? Little Drummers is a Berkshire-based volunteer organization for children founded and led by Mace Donahue and his Irish-Berkshire Mom, Meagheanne. Little Drummers participates in several volunteer events per year including delivering annual donations of baked-from-scratch-goods to nursing homes (always including gluten and sugar-free batches!) through their “Sweets for Seniors” program. To learn more about Little Drummers or to find out how your children can become volunteers, click here.
Not only is corned beef and cabbage super-easy to prepare, all of my kids LOVE it – it’s a FAVORITE meal — and leftovers are delicious! I buy extra specifically so leftovers can be had for lunch the next day. If you can’t cook at home, there are many annual corned beef and cabbage community dinners held by churches and other fundraising organizations. Recently recommended to me were the annual corned beef and cabbage dinners at the Grace Episcopal Church in Dalton (which was March 7, but mark your calendars for next year) and the ITAM on Newell St. in Pittsfield – both said to be delicious!
If you and your family want to go out to enjoy your corned beef and cabbage in a more traditional, “pub” atmosphere, check out the Berkshires own Irish pubs: Patrick’s Pub and O’Laughlin’s Pub both in Pittsfield, and Matt Reilly’s Pub in Lanesborough. All serve delicious corned beef & cabbage with big selections of beers & stouts to go along. Then there’s the 6 House Pub in Wiliamstown serving up Irish bangers and mashed potatoes, corned-beef reubens and a traditional corned-beef and cabbage dinner. All four pubs are sure to be bustling with a fun, St. Paddy’s Day crowd and you won’t be disappointed with your meals or beer selections no matter which one your family chooses.
Looking to eat your traditional St. Patrick Day fare during your lunch hour? I highly recommend Brenda & Co. in Crawford Square on North Street, Pittsfield. From 11 a.m.to 3 p.m., Brenda’s uber-fresh lunch buffet will feature corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots served with the proper condiments (until it sells out!) Get as little or as much as you want. Brenda’s highly-coveted corned beef is served by the pound. You can take it to go or sit in Brenda’s bright, casual, art-filled dining area. Tots welcome – they have booster seats and high chairs. And there is plenty of parking and clean bathrooms close by.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Enjoy!