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The not so Traditional Irish Dinner

Corned beef and cabbage is often thought of as the traditional Irish meal.  Everyone wishing to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day has to eat at least one helping while washing it down with a pint of Guinness. In North America corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, there is considerable debate about the association of corned beef with Ireland. Mark Kurlansky, in his book Salt, states that the Irish produced a salted beef around the Middle Ages that was the "forerunner of what today is known as Irish corned beef" and in the 17th century the English named the Irish salted beef "corned beef".  Some say it was not until the wave of 18th century Irish immigration to the United States that much of the ethnic Irish first began to consume corned beef dishes as seen today. The popularity of corned beef compared to bacon/rasher among the immigrant Irish may have been due to corned beef being considered a luxury product in their native land, while it was cheaply and readily available in America. In Ireland today, the serving of corned beef is geared toward tourist consumption and most Irish in Ireland do not identify the ingredient as native cuisine.  Given the option I much prefer a traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie made with lamb but Corned Beef works for me as well, especially when it is free. This year you are invited to The Celtic Ranch on Saturday, March 18th for free Corned Beef and Cabbage at the St. Patrick's Day Hangover Party. NO! you do not have to have a hangover to attend. If you can't make it to The Celtic Ranch then here is a recipe so you can make your own dinner.  I would give you a recipe for Guinness Stout as well but trust me that is a secret Guinness is not sharing. Slainte! Ingredients: 1 medium onion cut into wedges 4 large red potatoes, quartered 1 pound baby carrots 3 cups water 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 corned beef brisket with spice pack (2-1/2 to 3 pounds) cut in half 1 small head of cabbage, cut into wedges Directions: Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 6 to 7 qt. slow cooker, combine the water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet, pour over vegetables, top with brisket and cabbage. Cover and cook on low for 8 - 9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Discard bay leaf before serving.  Yield: 6 - 8 servings.
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