Our resident Vineyard Vixen takes on the great debate on this St. Patrick's Day- Boiled or Roasted?
The beloved holiday of green is almost upon us and that means donning your best green outfit ensemble and a festive menu of Irish or more accurately, Irish American classics namely Corned Beef and Cabbage.
There is an age-old debate on whether boiling or roasting is the best preparation method for this famous St. Patrick’s Day meal. This dish was created by early Irish American immigrants when boiled one-pot meals were a very common and practical preparation method. You know that old nursery rhyme that goes “peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold…” well, besides being a catchy song, it does describe what was once a common food preparation of heating and re-heating the same food in the same pot for many days on end. Well, let’s just say we’ve come a long way in the realm of food safety since then.
So where was I? Oh, to boil or to roast, that is the question! This my friend truly comes down to personal preference. The boiling method is not only convenient, but it also reduces some of the saltiness of the brined meat, however, the trade-off is that this method tends to be less visually appealing and usually results in soggy gray vegetables. Slow roasting on the other hand, allows the meat to caramelize and develop richer flavors for both the meat and the vegetables. And the bright red meat with slightly browned edges surrounded by still vibrant colored vegetables is a treat for the eyes.
Of course, this method can produce a much saltier final product because the meat will not be soaking in a “hot bath” all day. One word of advice, if you plan on roasting, be sure to rinse the meat very well before cooking to remove as much of the brine and salt as possible. A recipe you might like to try is Once Upon a Chef Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Cream. Tossing the vegetables in the horseradish butter before roasting as she suggests is a total game changer IMO.
What to pair? What to pair? While Whiskey and pints of Bass or Guinness are the beverage stars of St. Patrick’s Day, you might find yourself wondering which wines would pair well with corned beef and cabbage. This is a great question and one that can stump many because this dish is admittedly both salty and fatty. Oh, don’t worry, I’m not knocking that at all and these characteristics beg for an acidic and fruity red wine such as Grenache, Pinot Noir and Gamay. And don’t forget just like with BBQ, a fruit forward juicy Zinfandel will pair beautifully as well. Corned beef is brisket that’s been brined, so not unlike smoked brisket, it’s the fattiness of the meat that makes this partnership work.
However, what makes this dish fun to work with is that there are several white wines that take center stage too. You will find that dry Gewurztraminer and Riesling are excellent with corned beef and cabbage. And without any doubt Champagne or sparkling wine such as Blanc de blancs or a Burt Rose will be right at home on your St. Patrick’s Day table.
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