It’s St. Patty’s Day and whether you have a dash or a giant dose of Irish in your genes or not, it is hard to resist celebrating this fun and festive day.
For me St. Patrick’s Day is not just about swilling beer and getting black-out drunk (which seems to be the way of most), it’s a celebration of the food and culture; the pride, hard work and joy that the Irish bring to life.
When I think of Irish food, I think of the food eaten by the rural, agricultural peoples. Food raised and harvested off their own land like, potatoes, meats, root and cruciferous vegetables, grains and stone fruit and berries.
This way of eating, is near and dear to my heart and has many nutrition and lifestyle benefits, including:
- Local foods are higher in nutrition. Processing and transportation of foods depletes their nutrient quality and content
- Local foods have terroir: specific flavor and nutrition due to the soil and climate of an area
- Local foods support the local economy. (that feels good too)
- Local foods are better for the environment, for many reasons but my two favorite are:
- Preserved green space
- Decreased transportation = decreased greenhouse gases
- Local foods have lower risk for foodborne illness contamination
- Local foods promotes whole foods diet, including eating the whole animal.
- If you eat meat, it is wise to eat the whole animal for nutrition and respect for the animal
- In our culture we rarely eat organ meats or bone and bone marrow. These parts of the animal are high in nutrition, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and cartilage building minerals and proteins
When I think Irish food I also think, plant-based with small amounts of slow-cooked meats.
The benefits of which are:
- Plant-based = high-fiber
- Plant-based = nutrient dense
- Plant-based = low-calorie
- Meats that are slow cooked are the cheaper cuts
- Slow-cooking makes meat and cruciferous vegetables easier to digest and to assimilate the nutrition
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I will be serving up a hearty, peasant dish of corned beef. This dish celebrates all of the positive qualities of the Irish food culture. Corned beef is an inexpensive, tough piece of meat that will be slow-cooked. This meal is traditionally accompanied by tons of root and cruciferous vegetables including potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. And it can all be made in one pot in the morning for feasting that night.
St. Patrick’s Day Slow-Cooker Corned Beef Dinner
1-2 lb. corned beef
1 lb. red potatoes, small 1-2” or cube to this size
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
1 lb. cabbage, cut into 2” pieces
1 lb. white onion, cut into 2” pieces
1 TBSP. corned beef seasoning (a mixture of clove, mustard seed, caraway, and bay which all aid in tenderizing and digestion)
1 TBSP. lard
In the morning place the corned beef and the seasoning into your slow cooker and cover with water. Set to low.
Prepare the vegetables. Heat a Dutch oven over low heat. Melt the lard in the Dutch oven. Toss in the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat.
When you get home in the evening. Take the corned beef from the slow cooker and place in the Dutch oven with the vegetables. Add two inches of the broth to the Dutch oven, bring the dish to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork.
Slice thin strips of the corned beef against the grain. Serve plates heaped with vegetables and 2-3 slices of corned beef. Sprinkle a little fresh parsley on top for flavor and garnish.