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Homemade Corned Beef & Cabbage with Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Homemade corned brisket boiled with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots served with a side of traditional Irish soda bread (gluten-free of course).

It's the same every year come March 17th. Plastic packages of hot pink "brisket" sold tossed and piled around in a bin while bags of carrots and potatoes sit on the sidelines and large, round, green cabbages stacked neatly in a row front and center. I love corned beef and cabbage. I am not Irish but this is one holiday I will gladly partake in with no relation to its root. Which I think can be said of a lot of people enjoying the yearly corned beef and cabbage ritual with a side helping of Guinness.

Even though, short history lesson, this dish has many beginnings. The corned brisket does indeed start in Ireland when the Irish cow farmers couldn't even afford the meat they were selling and brisket was all that was left. Corning was a process of heavily salting beef, "kernels of salt" which sounds like corn hence "corning". Strange, yes.

The rest of this dish is more relatable to Jewish tastes, culturally speaking, when both Irish and Jewish ancestral immigrants lived in the same neighborhood of American slums and added things to this stew. In fact, the Irish don't eat corned beef and cabbage and I hear if you even try to order it in Ireland, they'll know you're American. Of course that and the accent will probably give you away.

The soda bread in this recipe is all Irish. Again, Irish farmers were very poor. The wheat they had had less gluten in it and therefore needed an extra boost since it couldn't rise very well on its own. Yeast was perishable and therefore much more expensive. The soda bicarbonate mixed with the acid of the buttermilk would create a reaction like that of yeast and cause the bread to become, well bread, just a little denser. Traditionally, this bread was cooked in a cast iron pot over coals since they also did not have ovens.

I did cook mine in a cast iron but I popped it in the oven and worked just as well. I was also afraid that adapting the recipe to gluten-free might not work but since these Irish farmers were also low on gluten I figured it might just work. And it did! And it was awesome!

Now I've stated I enjoy corned beef, but I do NOT, however, enjoy those nasty plastic packages of hot pink "meat"! Ugh I find it absolutely disgusting. AND if you're not turned off yet by them, I'll have you know that the ingredient they use to get the meat that pink color is also used to make fireworks and gunpowder. I'm going to go ahead and say that's not okay for you to eat.

This recipe is completely homemade. Get a big chunk of brisket from the butcher at your grocery store 2 weeks before hand, yes TWO weeks, and a big bucket to hold it in, get your brine together, and marinate that baby in the fridge until it's time to boil. Is this a plan ahead recipe? Yes it is. But it's completely worth it in the end and I'll guarantee you you'll never want another nasty package of corned beef again.


For the Meat:

4-5 lb beef brisket

2 quarts of water

1 cup of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/4 tsp ground)

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1-2 tbsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp whole cloves (about 10 individual cloves)

1 tsp allspice berries

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tsp juniper berries

1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh)

1/2 tsp dried thyme

5 garlic cloves, crushed (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

2-3 bay leaves, crushed

For the Stew:

Marinated Beef Brisket

1 Head of green cabbage, cut into quarters

5-6 Large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

5 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

For the Soda Bread:

4 cups Gluten-free Flour, or regular all-purpose flour

2 cups buttermilk, or 2 cups milk soured with 2 tbsp vinegar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt


For the Meat:

1. Combine all ingredients together in a large food-grade bucket or pot. Make sure the meat is completely covered with marinade and place into the refrigerator for at least 5 days or up to 2 weeks (the longer the better).

For the stew:

1. Remove brisket from marinade and place into a very large soup pot. Pour about 1/2 cup of the marinade into the pot with the brisket and cover the meat completely with water.

2. Bring meat to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Boil meat about 50 minutes per pound.

3. When time has elapsed, remove meat, place on a cutting board, and cover with foil.

4. Add in your potatoes and carrots. Bring pot back to a boil and cook for about 30-45 minutes or until potatoes and carrots can be pierced with a fork.

5. Add in your cabbage and cook another 15-30 minutes or until cabbage can be pierced with a fork.

6. Slice meat across the grain and serve with potatoes, cabbage, and carrots.

For the Soda Bread:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a cast iron pot .

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Create a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk or soured milk. Mix with a fork or spoon to combine.

4. When dough comes together, turn out onto a (gluten-free) floured surface and knead only 3-4 times. Too much kneading is bad for this type of bread.

5. Shape the dough into a round loaf and cut a deep X into the center. Brush with melted butter or more buttermilk.

6. Place loaf into the cast iron pot and cover with lid. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Let rest at least 10 minutes and then serve with butter! Enjoy!

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