Food Network Magazine
Would you be surprised to learn that corned beef and cabbage isn’t a St. Patrick's Day tradition in Ireland? In fact, beef in general isn’t historically all that popular according to an article by Shaylyn Esposito that appeared on the Smithsonian’s site in 2013.bacon and cabbage dishes than corned beef. Then how did this tradition come to be? Well, the Cattle Acts in the mid-seventeenth century flooded the Irish market with cattle that legally could not be exported alive. Couple the sudden abundance of affordable beef with Ireland’s comparatively low salt tax, and Irish corned beef became a valued export.
However, by the end of the nineteenth century, the American colonies were able to cheaply produce their own corned beef and the demand for the export declined, taking with it the tradition of corned beef in Ireland.
Today, no St. Patrick's Day celebration in the U.S. would be complete without corned beef and cabbage. It's a comforting and familiar dish, but while many may like the idea of having corned beef and cabbage as part of the festivities, when the time comes to actually sit down and eat it, the dish often loses all appeal. Sometimes thought of as a bit bland, this simple fare simply fails to get most people's hearts racing anymore. And that's no surprise — it's probably safe to say that in today's food-obsessed culture, people have come to expect more sophistication out of the things they cook at home.
That's why we've put together a short list of inspired, and dare we say, improved, takes on the traditional version. For example, who would have thought to make a version of corned beef and cabbage that one could pick up with two hands? Look to chef Christopher Palmer, whose Corned Beef Egg Rolls put it all in the palm of your hand. And those looking for a just a slight, elegant twist will want to try chef James Moore's version of corned beef and cabbage, which features a unique white wine mustard sauce. His recipe comes straight from his home in Ireland.
For pizza-lovers, Food Network Magazine's version of corned beef tops the classic ingredients with oozing mozzarella, Monterey Jack cheese, and a salty Parmesan for an Italian twist. And, there's nothing better than a soothing bowl of hot soup on a cold day — especially when you have the elements of corned beef in it. Lastly, for those who insist that there is no way to improve on a classic, there is, of course, the straightforward version. Now, get to it!
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.
This story was originally published on March 5, 2013.
Additional reporting by Angela Carlos, Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.