Irish immigrants adopted corned beef as bacon substitute
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars served 48 people and raised $551 Monday at VFW Post 6958 in Marion.
“All the money is going to cancer research,” Ladies Auxiliary president Donna Kreutziger said. “We put on an event like this every year but this is the first time we have ever paired the event with St. Patrick’s Day.”
In past years, the auxiliary has made everything from breakfast food to soups, Kreutziger said, they also usually put on the fund raising event earlier in the year.
This year scheduling difficulties made it hard to have the event any earlier. Kreutziger said it made the most sense to schedule the lunch for St. Patrick’s Day and serve corned beef and cabbage.
Kreutziger and other auxiliary members including Mary Anne Yerion helped prepare and serve the meal as well as put on the event.
“My mother was Scottish-Irish,” Yerion said. “She liked to steam the cabbage and vegetables separate from the beef because she said it would get to soft and mushy. She liked having something to bite into.”
Kreutziger said she researched the history of the dish on the Internet and found out that Irish bacon was originally served with cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
However, when many of the first Irish immigrants moved to the United States they could not afford bacon so they used corned beef as a substitute. The trend caught on even though corned beef is not the standard dish for the celebration.
Corned beef and cabbage
(serves 4 to 6)
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- 1 corned beef brisket (4 to 5 lb.) that has seasoning packet included)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 large green cabbage cut into 4-6 wedges.
Heat large Dutch oven or stockpot to medium-high. Add cooking oil. Sear meat on all sides. Reduce heat to medium. Add the seasoning from the packet. Immediately deglaze the pan by adding beef broth.
Fill the pot with enough water to cover the meat half way up the sides. Reduce to a simmer and cook for two hours. Add cabbage and simmer for one more hour.
Alternatively, cook cabbage separately in another pot seasoning with salt and pepper for 30 minutes, then add to brisket and simmer for 30 more minutes.
Served as a side, five large potatoes boiled in salted water, drained cut into 1 - 2 inch pieces and seasoned with butter, parsley, salt, and pepper. Kreutziger said some add the potatoes along with carrots right into the pot with the cabbage.