Corned beef and cabbage is a classic Irish dish enjoyed by many, especially on St. Patrick's Day. As you plan your meal, you might wonder what side dishes will best complement the savory, salty flavors of corned beef and tender cabbage. With a variety of options to choose from, selecting the perfect dish to round out your feast can seem like a daunting task.
Fear not, as we've gathered our favorites and have created a list of the best side dishes that will satisfy your taste buds. Whether you're planning a cozy family dinner or a festive gathering with friends, these delicious options will surely please everyone at the dinner table. From roasted vegetables to flavorful salads and comforting potatoes, your corned beef and cabbage meal will be an unforgettable experience.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Preparation Methods
When preparing corned beef and cabbage, consider the following methods to achieve a delicious meal. Each method has its advantages, and will work well depending on your equipment and preferences.
Using a slow cooker is an excellent way to achieve tender and flavorful corned beef. To begin, simply add your corned beef, seasoning packet, and water to your slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours, adding the vegetables during the last 2-3 hours. This method allows you to set it and forget it, giving you more time to focus on other tasks.
The Instant Pot can significantly speeds up the cooking process of corned beef and cabbage and is a favorite method to prepare it. Your corned beef will be ready to serve in a fraction of the time compared to slow-cooking methods and taste just as good.
*Just as a side note, that link up there is for our corned beef brisket and doesn't have cabbage in it. I added it to this post because it's mouthwateringly good and will make you jump with joy when you try it!
The traditional stovetop method is a reliable and straightforward way to cook corned beef and cabbage. We agree and make our corned beef stew...which is not traditional but totally delicious...on our stovetop. This recipe is a longtime family favorite and definitely a must try.
Our new favorite corned beef recipe is made right inside our air fryer. If you enjoy corned beef I can't encourage you enough to try it. At least once.
Each preparation method mentioned will deliver a delicious corned beef and cabbage meal for you and your family to enjoy. Pick the method that works best for your available time and equipment, and enjoy a tasty, traditional dish.
St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Cuisine
St. Patrick's Day is a time to embrace your Irish heritage or join in the fun with the millions of people who celebrate this vibrant and lively holiday. When it comes to St. Patrick's Day feasting, it's essential to include traditional Irish dishes, along with some festive additions that make the day extra special.
One must-have on your St. Patrick's Day menu is corned beef and cabbage, which many Irish immigrants in America first popularized. This classic dish combines tender, salt-cured beef with hearty root vegetables and cabbage for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Don't forget to serve up some homemade Irish soda bread alongside your corned beef and cabbage. This easy-to-make bread uses simple ingredients like flour, buttermilk, and baking soda to create a dense, slightly sweet loaf that pairs perfectly with the savory beef and vegetables.
Another Irish favorite you may want to introduce to your St. Patrick's Day table is colcannon. This traditional, delicious side dish combines mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale, butter, and cream for a creamy and delicious accompaniment to your corned beef. You can find a variety of colcannon recipes to suit your taste – some even include bacon or ham for an extra layer of flavor.
When it comes to celebrating St. Patrick's Day, your choices in cuisine also help capture the spirit and tradition of this beloved holiday. Keep things festive and authentic by incorporating beloved Irish dishes and flavors into your meal, and you'll have a St. Patrick's Day feast to remember.
What to Serve with Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipes for Side Dishes
Easy and Quick Recipes
For an easy and quick side dish to serve, try preparing glazed carrots that are lightly sweetened and delicately seasoned. The perfect side dish for corned beef and cabbage is a classic recipe of creamy mashed potatoes sprinkled with black pepper. To make dinner extra special, add some green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, or even deviled eggs. A fresh salad with arugula or cabbage adds a light, refreshing touch to your meal.
Here's a list of some easy and quick sides for corned beef recipes to consider:
Hearty and Comforting Recipes
Finally, for hearty and comforting side dishes, consider serving mac and cheese, squash casserole, sweet potatoes, or au gratin potatoes. Roasted red potatoes add a robust flavor to your meal, or you can try a simple coleslaw for a crunchy veggie option. Don't forget the bread! Rye bread or warm dinner rolls complete your corned beef and cabbage meal.
Some hearty and comforting recipes to consider include:
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese, Rosemary Mac and Cheese or Jalapeno Ranch Macaroni and Cheese.
- Stuffed Squash
- Au gratin potatoes
- Roasted red potatoes
- Sweet or Spicy Coleslaw
- Rye bread, Sage and Sweet Onion Bread, or dinner rolls
With our favorite side dish suggestions, you can create a flavorful and well-rounded corned beef and cabbage meal that your family and friends will love.
Incorporate various vegetables with corned beef and cabbage to not only add more color to your plate but also nutritional value. Here are some recommendations:
- Roasted root vegetables: This combination of carrots, onions, beets, and other assorted vegetables can offer a delightful balance with the salty flavor of corned beef.
- Brussels sprouts and broiled asparagus or instant pot asparagus: These green vegetables can add a hint of bitterness, which complements the rich flavors of corned beef and cabbage.
A Brief History of Corned Beef and Cabbage
In the 19th century, in Ireland, pork bacon was commonly consumed, and cabbage was the vegetable of choice due to its abundance and availability. However, when Irish immigrants began arriving in the United States, they had to adapt their traditional dishes to the ingredients available there. Corned beef was more affordable and accessible than pork bacon in America, so it became a substitute in the classic Irish meal.
Corned beef has been around for centuries, as a staple in many cultures including most of Europe and the Middle East. The term "corned" comes from the usage of large-grained rock salt, called "corns," in the salt-curing process This curing technique makes corned beef more tender and long-lasting. Today, though, salt brines are more popular for preserving the meat.
As you prepare your corned beef and cabbage meal, consider incorporating some popular side dishes:
- Boiled or roasted potatoes
- Carrots cooked with the cabbage
- Irish soda bread
Remember, corned beef and cabbage might not have originated in Ireland, but it certainly has become an emblematic dish for Irish-Americans. So, the next time you cook this delicious meal, you'll know the fascinating history behind it and the blending of cultures that led to its creation.
Choosing and Preparing Corned Beef
Selecting the Best Cut
When selecting your corned beef, it's important to choose the right cut of meat. There are two main options: the flat and the point. The flat cut is leaner and more uniform in shape, making it an excellent choice for slicing and serving. On the other hand, the point cut is thicker with more marbling, resulting in a richer and more flavorful corned beef.
Start by visiting a reputable butcher to ensure the quality of your corned beef. Check for a bright, reddish-pink color and adequate marbling, as these are indicators of a tender and flavorful product.
Using the Spice Packet
Corned beef typically comes with a spice packet included. These packets contain spices such as coriander, peppercorns, and mustard seeds that enhance the flavor of the corned beef when cooked. If your corned beef does not come with a spice packet, you can create your own blend using the mentioned spices or look for premade mixes in grocery stores.
To use the spice packet, simply rub the spices all over the surface of your corned beef before cooking, making sure to cover every side evenly. You can also season your corned beef with additional spices such as paprika or garlic powder if desired.
Corned beef is typically preserved in a salt brine to prolong its shelf life and give it a unique flavor profile. Before cooking, it's essential to rinse the corned beef under cold water to remove any excess brine. This step will help prevent your finished dish from becoming overly salty.
After rinsing, you have the option to soak your corned beef in cold water for a couple of hours to further reduce the saltiness. This step is not required, but it may be preferred if you or your guests are sensitive to salty flavors.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure your corned beef and cabbage dish turns out to be a delicious and satisfying meal. Remember to choose the right cut, use the spice packet or create your own blend, and properly rinse and soak the corned beef to prepare it for cooking.
Leftover Corned Beef
I encourage you to give our corned beef stew a try. This is definitely comfort food at its finest and is the perfect way to use leftovers. You can only enjoy so many corned beef sandwiches!