My husband is Irish, but I'm not. Although I eat and can cook lots of different types of food, cabbage is probably the one food I really detest. I don't like it or anything you cook with it, like ham or corned beef. OK, let's be honest, I'm not a fan of any kind of pink meat. I prefer my meat to be well and truly cooked through and something about the pinkness of ham and corned beef seems raw to me.
In any case, my husband loves cabbage and corned beef, but obviously it's just not something I make. His grandmother always used to make it every year and she'd make him a plate. She passed away a few years ago and after that he'd go to different restaurants every year, trying to find some place that made it as good as his Gram. None of them did.
So last year I started to feel guilty. We'd been married for 19 years and I hadn't ever made him one of his favorite meals cause I just didn't like it. I decided I'd give it a try. I looked through dozens of recipes online and they were all pretty similar. They called for boiling the meat and cabbage. I hate the small of boiled cabbage. And I'm not a fan of the idea of boiling meat. It seems so tasteless somehow. So I started thinking about how I could make the meal he wanted but cook it in a way that I would feel proud about.
In the end, I decided to roast the meat and steam the cabbage. It may not be absolutely traditional, but once it was on the plate and he was eating it, he told me - and he really meant this - that it was the best he'd ever eaten. Of course, that means I have to make it every year, but I guess he's worth it.
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
3 lb (approx) corned beef, with spice packet
1 head cabbage
1 large onion
2-3 cloves Garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper
I treat the corned beef like any type of roast, that is I rub it all over with salt and pepper, olive oil and chopped garlic and then sear each side in a hot pan. Then I put it in my roaster, on a rack, to roast it.
Put water into the bottom of the roaster, just up to the rack, so that the meat is not in water, but maybe just touching it. Empty the spice packet into the water and then add a couple more bay leaves and a dozen peppercorns (I don't count these things). Cover tightly with foil and put in oven at 300F for two hours. Take out of the oven and carefully pull back the foil. Don't tear it and be very careful to not get burned by the steam.
Peel carrots and cut each into about 6 sticks, wash and cut potatoes into halves and then quarters. Toss the carrots, potatoes and the half onion in olive oil with salt and pepper, and then pour the veggies around the roast on top of the rack. Cover back up tightly with foil and put back in oven for another hour at 300F. Turn heat up to 375F, remove the foil (being careful to not get steam burns) and roast for an additional 20 mins. Remove from oven and let the roast sit for a few minutes before cutting.
In the meantime, cut the cabbage and onion into quarters. Put the cabbage and half the onion into the steamer pan, salt and pepper. Fill the bottom with water, add bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic (again, I don't actually measure, but just put in enough, you know?). When there is about an hour left, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium. Keep it bubbling with a lid on until tender, 30-40 mins.
In our house, this makes two meals, both eaten by my husband.