Cost Cutting Cuisine — Corned Beef & Cabbage

Here it is the middle of March, 2009 in the northeastern United States.   And  like every year at this time, we are getting ready to say goodbye to cold, blustery, snowy days and hello to warmer air, earthy smells and the vernal equinox of springtime.  Along with this harbinger of imminent bounty from the earth, comes special days of celebration, such as St Patrick’s Day and Easter Sunday, accompanied by their traditional meals.  St.Patrick’s corned beef & cabbage; and the Easter Ham or Leg of Lamb. 

As of this writing , we are less than a week away from the day “when everyone becomes Irish”.  And now is the time to look for bargains at the markets.   For example, cabbage is abundant right now.    Considered one of the top 10 BEST nutritional foods to eat(either in its fresh form or as sauerkraut), one cannot go wrong at $.09 a pound.  That’s right: nine (9) cents a pound.   I bought a large head the other day-at my local supermarket chain-enough to feed 6 people-  for $.43 (cents)! And since Corned Beef is its partner on this day, it was on sale for $.99 a pound.  I got a six(6) pound piece for $5.83.   I now had the basis for a delicious dinner for myself and friends.  Accompanied by braised onions, celery and boiled potatoes, the total cost came to less than $9.00.  For you math whizzes, this comes to approximately $1.50 per person.  Not bad, eh?    For a holiday meal.   Of course, you’ll need to have beverages and a dessert. And if your pleasure is beer or wine, I’m sure you can find discounts there as well.

Ingredients:   One Head Green or Red Cabbage

                      One 6- lb piece corned beef (or brisket if you prefer)

                       One medium onion, sliced– —  2 stalks celery- chopped in 1″ pieces—-

                       Garlic/Herb paste:   —  2 cloves garlic, 2TB fresh thyme, S & P, 2 TB olive oil

                       To cook the Cabbage:   Cut the head into quarters and steam 20 minutes in a large pot or until done.  Set aside.

                      To cook the Corned Beef:   Remove about 80% of the fat, leaving on enough to make juices (about 1/8″).  Crush the garlic, add the thyme, S&P and olive oil and cover the meat with it. 

                      In a large ovenproof roaster(a Romertopf Clay pot is excellent for this), put in the meat, cover with the vegetables, cover tightly(if using a roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil), and put into 300 degree oven.   NO NEED to cover with water.   Cook for about 3 hours, basting the meat every 1/2 hour.  In the last hour, put in the steamed cabbage and finish the cooking. Meat is done when it becomes tender and “shreds” when pulled.   Let rest for 15 minutes and served with boiled potatoes.   Recommended wine :   A chilled Sauvignon Blanc goes well.  Enjoy.

To your health,

Jim