Corned Beef and Cabbage - History
Corned Beef and Cabbage is NOT a traditional Irish dish! You will find restaurants all over Ireland serving this dish but mainly for the tourists and not for the locals. Corned beef and Cabbage is a popular dish amongst Irish Emigrants, particularly those who travelled to America.
Irish emigrants to America used Corned Beef as a substitute for Bacon in an attempt to recreate the authentic Irish dish of Bacon and Cabbage.
Corned Beef also known as Salt Beef was produced in Ireland in the 1800's, indeed it was one of the major foods exported all over the world but was expensive for the Irish people who preferred to eat bacon from their home reared pigs.
During the famine years many Irish people paid rent to landlords and they simply could not afford to eat 'delicacies' such as corned beef. Beef from home reared cattle was a treat for the native Irish and the meat would be eaten fresh, not preserved and cured in salt.
Often the cattle cared for by the Irish people did not belong to them, they were owned by the landlord and the corned beef was produced specifically for export.
Corned Beef and Cabbage - Irish Emigrants
In America, the emigrants found that salt and beef were much cheaper and more plentiful than in Ireland so used this to create the American-Irish dish of Corned Beef and Cabbage.
In Ireland the ingredients for Bacon and Cabbage were plentiful, locals grew their own cabbage and reared their own pigs, this was not the case for emigrants who settled in cities and found work elsewhere.
Corned Beef and Cabbage - Traditional Bacon and Cabbage Recipe
Bacon and Cabbage is still a popular dish, even in the modern Ireland of today. Boiled back bacon is used and served with cabbage and potatoes. Often other vegetables are added to the dish including Turnips and Carrots.
Depending on individual taste, the water drained from the boiled bacon is sometimes used to boil the vegetables in. Some people however find the taste too salty and prefer the healthier option of steaming their vegetables that accompany the boiled bacon.
Bacon and Cabbage - Ingredients
Large Piece of Back Bacon, smoked or un-smoked (according to personal taste)
1 large cabbage
Bacon and Cabbage - Method
Place the meat in a pot (large enough for the meat and cabbage that will be added later)
Cover the meat with cold water and bring to the boil
Simmer for 30 minutes per pound of meat
cut the cabbage into quarters and add to the pot
Simmer for 30 minutes or until the cabbage is cooked (vary cooking time according to personal taste)
Drain and serve with boiled or mashed potatoes
Can also be served with Carrots and Turnips