Traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare lends itself to flavorful leftovers

Many are looking forward to corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day next week, and in the days following,

Many are looking forward to corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day next week, and in the days following, they can still savor the taste in dishes that use up the leftovers.

Corned beef is actually an Irish-American tradition more than a purely Irish one. Harold Qualters, director of the New York State Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation, points out that beef was not a staple in 17th and 18th century Ireland, when much of the population was very poor. Pork, was however, significantly more plentiful than beef.

To preserve the meat pre-refrigeration, people rubbed pellets of salt, which were at the time not the fine table salt we use today, but more the size of kernels of corn, into the meat. This is where the term “corned” originated.

It wasn’t until the famine and the mass immigration of the Irish to the North American continent where beef was more available that corned beef became a popular dish. “Corned beef and cabbage historically concerns itself more with the American Irish because they just transferred from the pig to the beef,” Qualters said.

Tim James, executive chef at The Local in Saratoga Springs, points out that if one orders corned beef right, there won’t be any leftovers. He estimates his orders at about 1⁄4 pound per person. Accompanied by other traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods like cabbage, carrots and potatoes, this serving size is usually enough.

Using leftovers

But any home cook knows that cooking exactly enough is not always easy. Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty dishes to use up any leftover corned beef from the St. Paddy’s Day feast.

Starting right off with breakfast, corned beef hash is a good way to use up leftovers. This is easily made by simply cutting up the corned beef into tiny pieces and sautéeing them with potatoes, onions and peppers, Qualters said. Add a couple of poached or fried eggs on top, and you’ve got a meal.

Corned beef does well in soups and sandwiches, too. Simply add the leftovers from your St. Patrick’s Day dinner — corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions — to some chicken stock, and voilá, soup du jour.

Qualters cooks his corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day using a can of Guinness beer and a cup of good red wine. “When that is finished, the liquid is just unbelievable,” he said. “At times, I have used that as the basis for brisket soup,” adding cut up carrots, onions and celery, he said.

Leftover corned beef is good for making Reuben sandwiches, too. To make this popular sandwich, top rye bread with some slice corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and some Russian or Italian dressing, then grill.

A general rule of thumb is that corned beef can usually be substituted in recipes that call for ham or bacon.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Recipe from Chef Tim James of The Local in Saratoga Springs.

21⁄4 pounds beef brisket

6 peppercorns

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 peeled large onion, left whole

2 bay leaves

Pinch kosher salt

1 head cabbage cored and cut

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut

1⁄2 cup peeled diced apple or 1⁄4 cup apple sauce

Splash Guinness and 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey (these may be omitted if desired)

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Place beef, peppercorns, garlic, onion, bay leaves and salt in large pot. Fill with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a slow boil for 20 minutes, then reduce to simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

Add cabbage, carrots, potatoes, apple, Guinness and whiskey and simmer approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Saving the liquid, remove from heat and transfer meat and vegetables to serving platter. Discard onion. Skim any fat that comes to surface of liquid. Add the butter and parsley.

To serve, plate vegetables with beef, remembering to slice the beef against the grain and spoon liquid over top.

Serves 4.

Colcannon Potatoes

Recipe from Chef Tim James of The Local in Saratoga Springs.

11⁄2 pounds roughly chopped cooked potatoes

1⁄2 pound finely chopped cabbage

1⁄2 pound leftover corned beef, cut into small pieces

1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic

4 tablespoons butter

1⁄2 cup warm heavy cream; milk is OK, but will not be as rich

White pepper to taste

2 green onions, sliced

Rewarm potatoes, cabbage, and beef; microwave is OK. If not, a large pan with a small amount of water or stock will do.

In separate sauté pan, cook garlic with butter until softened.

In a large bowl, add cream, pepper, potatoes and garlic. Mash until mixed, but still chunky. Fold in cabbage, corned beef and green onion.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

Recipe from Chef Tim James of The Local in Saratoga Springs.

Combine any leftovers with chicken stock, thinly sliced peeled onion, and celery. Simmer until celery and onion are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Other ideas

The following recipes are courtesy of The Beef Checkoff.

Reuben Quesadilla — A take on the classic. Layer thinly sliced corned beef, drained sauerkraut, a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing and shredded Swiss cheese on a large flour tortilla. Top with second tortilla. Cook in heated nonstick skillet over medium heat until first side is lightly browned. Carefully turn to brown other side and melt cheese. Cut into wedges.

Corned Beef-Wich with Horseradish Slaw — Layer thinly sliced corned beef on dark rye or pumpernickel bread and top with a mixture of packaged “sliced” coleslaw mix, thin red bell pepper strips and prepared vinaigrette accented with prepared horseradish. Close sandwich.

Corned Beef with Chutney Cheese Sandwich — Layer thinly sliced corned beef on bottom of rye or multi-grain sandwich roll that is spread with a mixture of prepared chutney, Dijon-style mustard, sliced green onion and softened cream cheese. Add lettuce leaf. Close sandwich.

Traditional Hash In-A-Flash — Sauté chopped onion and bell pepper in small amount of butter over medium heat in large skillet. Add corned beef cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and packaged cooked diced potatoes. Press mixture firmly in skillet. Cook, turning with spatula several times, until browned and cooked through.

Corned Beef & Potato Salad — Toss thinly sliced corned beef with cooked potato wedges, thinly sliced green onion and prepared Dijon-style vinaigrette. Serve atop a bed of packaged mixed greens.

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