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It is almost March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. This is the day that almost every restaurant serves corned beef and cabbage. It may be better to make it yourself than to go out for dinner and save yourselves and others from drivers who may have drinking too much green beer or Jameson Irish Whiskey.
I myself am not a fan of boiled corned beef at all, although I adore the cabbage, turnips or parsnips, carrots and potatoes with jolt of ground pepper and a big pat of butter. I do make it for friends and because my husband and I lived in Massachusetts for many years. It is easy to make with the recipe below, but I have added another made with deli corned beef or your own leftover corned beef. And while you are enjoying your New England boiled dinner, James O’Shea (co-owner with Charlie Kafferman of Litchfield’s wonderful West Street Grill) says Ireland had no corned beef itself, only ham.
[In fact, in Gaelic Ireland, cows were considered by some to be sacred, according to Smithsonian magazine. And beef later became a symbol of the oppressive British aristocracy and middle class, who could afford to eat it. Only when the Irish came to America could they afford to eat corned beef, the magazine says. Read more about that at www.smithsonianmag.com.]
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Yield: 6 to8 servings
1 medium-sized cabbage
10 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
10 small, unpeeled red potatoes, cut in half
2 or 3 onions, cut into quarters
1 package pickling spices (available at most supermarkets)
3-pound corned beef brisket
Core the cabbage and discard outer leaves. Slice and cut cabbage into bite-sized pieces, then refrigerate in a plastic bag.
In a slow cooker, place carrots, red potatoes, and onions in the bottom of the slow cooker. Rub the corned beef with the pickling spaces and put on top of the vegetables. Add enough water to almost cover the corned beef. Cover and cook on high until tender, 4 ½ hours (8 ½ hours on low). Place chopped cabbage on corned beef, cover, and continue cooking until cabbage is tender, about 45 minutes. Thinly slice meat against the grain and serve with vegetables with nice grainy mustard.
Corned Beef Stuffed Potatoes
From Cook This Now by Melissa Clark (Hyperion, New York, 2011)
Yield: serves 4
4 russet potatoes, big ones, scrubbed well
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ thinly sliced corn beef, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon chopped dill
Pitch of freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub each potato with salt and pierce with a fork. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until skin is crisp and insides are tender when pierced with a fork.
When potatoes are cooled enough to handle, use a sharp knife to slice up the top. Scoop out the insides, leaving about one-quarter inch thickness. Transfer insides to a bowl. Add corned beef, butter, dill, and remaining salt and pepper to the bowl and mix well with the fork.
Stuff the skins with the mixture and sprinkle with the cheese. Return the potatoes to the oven and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Run under the broiler for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown and cheese has melted.
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