I come from Boston where St. Patrick's Day is heartily celebrated, especially in Charlestown. Now I live in Savannah which has the second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the country. On this day, I always think about my beloved cousin, Jeremiah Daniel Hugh Sullivan, a finer man never lived, and my grandmother's life-long best friend and neighbor, Marie Cadigan, who taught me how to make a proper pot of tea. May their Memories be Eternal!
Corned beef and cabbage is one of my all-time favorite meals. I just love it. I could eat a whole brisket by myself, so you can imagine my chagrin when I became Orthodox and realized that St. Patricks Day always, always, ALWAYS occurs during Lent! I've made a number of Lenten substitute meals but, of course, they never quite satisfy that craving for corned beef. This year, I received the following recipes from my dear friend, Matushka Elizabeth Perdomo, who is one heck of a fine cook, and this is what will be on my dinner table tonight.
St. Padraig’s Day Lenten Corned “Not-Beef” & Cabbage
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. Whole Allspice
1 Tsp. Whole Black Peppercorns
1 Tsp. Whole Mustard Seed
1 Head Cabbage, Cut into Wedges
1 Lb. Carrots, Cut into thirds
2 Lg. Onions, Cut into Wedges
2 Stalks Celery plus Celery Greens
2 Turnips, Cut into Large Chunks, Optional
Plenty of Salt, to taste
Make a bouquet garni of the bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns and mustard seed. I usually do this by putting the spices in a tea ball, but you can also use a few layers of cheesecloth or muslin wrapped around the spice. The goal is to not allow the spices to be loose in the broth, so you wrap them up.
Place the veggies and the bouquet garni in a big pot and cover with water and cook until tender.
In a separate pot of boiling water, cook 5 Lbs. Red-skinned Potatoes, cut into halves or quarters. When the potatoes are tender, drain them, saving the potato water for vegetable stock or liquid in breads.
Stir into the potatoes:
½ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced
1 Stick Lenten Margarine
Salt, to taste
Serve the cabbage and other vegetables in their broth. Serve the potatoes separately. Have on hand some Fresh Horseradish Sauce. Serve with Irish Bread & a good Pint of Ale on the side! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Colcannon – An Irish & Scottish Potato & Cabbage Dish
This is a Lenten tradition for St. Patrick’s Day and is excellent served on any other fasting day or season. The recipe also has a version using cheese (see below) which is excellent for times outside of the various fasts. It is interesting to note that this dish is also traditionally served in Ireland on All Hallow’s Eve.
Boil water in a large pot and add: Peeled Potatoes Salt & Pepper, to taste. When the potatoes are tender, remove from pot and mash them well.
In a skillet, heat some water, oil, margarine or butter and fry until soft:
1 Onion, Thinly Sliced
1 Head of Cabbage, Thinly Sliced
2 Carrots, Thinly Sliced, Optional
1 Small Yellow Turnip (Rutabaga?), Thinly Sliced, Optional
2 Small White Turnips, Thinly Sliced, Optional
Mix the potatoes, onion, cabbage and any of the “optional” vegetables together and mash them well. Place the mixture in an oiled or buttered casserole dish. Add margarine or butter, salt and pepper, to taste. This can be made earlier in the day and then re-heated in the oven.
Serve topped with: Paprika and/or Fresh Parsley, Minced and/or Fresh Chives, Minced
Kilkenny – A non-fasting Scottish version of Colcannon which calls for equal amounts of potatoes and cabbage, plus a half cup of cream.
Rumbledethumps – A similar Scottish recipe which includes potatoes, cabbage and onions - all cooked as described above - and then placed into the buttered casserole dish and topped with lots of grated sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 F. until the cheese melts and slightly browns.