With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, my son called to remind me to be sure and put corned beef and cabbage on my grocery list. It’s one of many simple, hearty dishes that anyone would enjoy this March 17.

Start with a full Irish breakfast and a serving of Irish bacon which is completely different from what you are used to. It is cut from the shoulder and much leaner. Serve some with a bowl of porridge or maybe some grilled tomatoes – slice them thin, dip slices in an egg batter and brown in a skillet.

To make a traditional pot of cabbage and corned beef, start by taking off the outer leaves of cabbage. Use your hand to pull apart leaves, layering in your pot and adding enough water to steam the cabbage. Add your corned beef (either from a can or a fresh brisket) and cook until tender, seasoning as need. Add potatoes, carrots and onions if you’d like.

Cabbage rolls are another favorite. Tear off leaves from a large head of cabbage and cook in boiling water or steam until leaves are wilted enough to be flexible.

In a separate bowl, add 1 pound ground lean beef, ½ cup instant rice or cooked rice, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 egg (lightly beaten) and ½ cup finely chopped onion.

Take several spoonfuls of the mixture and roll up in cabbage leaf secured with a toothpick. Combine 1 can tomato soup (undiluted) and a 15.4-ounce can of tomatoes to a Dutch oven or  pan. Place cabbage rolls in pan over the mixture, cover and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.

For a light St. Patrick’s Day lunch, consider this shredded cabbage soup. You’ll need 1 small head of green cabbage (coarsely shredded), 2 sliced carrots, 2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed), 1 stalk of celery (including leaves) sliced and 2 tomatoes chopped.  

In a soup pot cook and stir 2 medium onions thinly sliced in 3 tablespoons butter, then add 2 10.5 ounce cans of condensed beef broth. Stir in your prepared vegetables and add enough water to thoroughly cover all ingredients by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add ½ to 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for two hours.

Want something a little different as a side dish? How about a red cabbage with apple salad? Wash and thinly slice 1 head of red cabbage, then core 2 unpeeled apples, remove seeds and dice. Slice half a lemon and set aside.

Next, combine the following ingredients in a heavy cooking pot: ½ cup water, 1 diced onion, salt and pepper to taste, 1 cup wine vinegar, dash cinnamon, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 cup red wine. Cover securely and bring to a boil quickly. Turn down immediately and simmer 35 to 45 minutes.  

Let cool and then add mixture to cabbage and apple mixture. Stir thoroughly and serve.

– An award-winning cook and baker, Patt Welsh writes from her home in Kearneysville

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