Well kiss my Blarney Stone, I find it hard to believe that this traditional Irish delicacy has thus far escaped both our appetites and olfactory senses. This is especially true as I write this because Saint Patrick's Day is bearing down on us and proper preparations need to be made in advance

Wait…Hold on just a minute.

It just occurred to me that this year (2006) Saint Patrick’s Day just happens to fall on a Friday and since the good Irish Catholics are forbidden to eat meat on that day during Lent, they’ll probably be crying their eyes out in between glasses of green beer and Jameson’s. There’ll be the woeful wail of bagpipes sounding across the land as they stare down at their kilts and curse their bleedin’ luck. What’s a drunken rowdy Irishman to do under such trying circumstances?

Well, if tradition means anything, the good fella’s at the Church will probably come to the rescue and grant some dispensation and make an exception to the rule. It seems even God himself or His representatives here on Earth can look the other way when it comes to eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy’s Day and as long as you give up meat another day during Lent, you’ll still be in His good graces.

I can hear the chants of ”Begorrah” echoing across the land!

First of all, I like to do my corned beef and cabbage in a crock pot. The ten to twelve hours that it takes to cook this monster will ensure that your house will stink for days on end and the aroma is a constant reminder of the delicacies and the pinpoint accuracy of the ingredients that comprise Irish cousine.

Based on the size of your appetite and the number of people you’re trying to feed, this should fill up five to eight bellies with a little bit leftover for tomorrow.

Here’s what you need…

A couple of medium sized onions, thinly sliced.
Anywhere between a three to five pound corned beef brisket from your local butcher or grocery store.
Four to six potatoes’, skins on or off, it doesn’t really matter, cut into quarters.
A decent sized head of cabbage cut into six wedges.
A half of a fistful of cloves
Enough beer to cover the whole kit and kaboodle.

Here’s what you do…

Throw all that shit into the crock pot, turn it on low and go to your local neighborhood Saint Paddy’s Day Parade. After that’s over, stop by your local watering hole for a couple of hours and hoist a few back with your friends and neighbors. Make bold toasts, ogle members of the opposite sex, dance a jig or two, sing a few verses of Danny Boy and curse the bloody English. Repeat as often as necessary.

Depending on your tolerance level, this might last anywhere between four and six hours. If the weather’s nice, take yourself a nice walk home to clear your head. If it’s shitty outside, call yourself a cab. Either way, just before you open your front door, you’ll be able to start smelling your creation and your mouth will start watering.

It’s at this point you have to resist the temptation to pluck that puppy out of the crock pot and dig right in. The meat will probably still be a little tough and I prefer mine “fork tender". If you can, try and take a nap or watch some March Madness on television and root for your favorite team.

At the ten-hour mark, lift the lid off the crock pot and let the aroma permeate your nostrils. Lift the slab of meat out with a huge fork and get it to a cutting board before it falls apart. Let it cool down some before you slice it up. Pluck the taters and cabbage out with a slotted spoon and drop into a serving bowl.

Go to the fridge and get some mustard. Hopefully you have some rye bread on hand and slap some meat, mustard and pepper between a couple of slices. This is no time to be shy either, pile that shit on.

Ladle some potatoes and cabbage from the serving bowl onto your plate and smush them together with a fork. Add a healthy dose of pepper and grab a beer or ten from the refrigerator and dig in.

Some of you folks might think I’m being a bit sarcastic but this is the kind of meal I thoroughly enjoy. No fuss, no muss and great tastes all brought together simply and that are meant to be shared by friends and family alike.

Erin go bragh!

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