New England Irish Boiled Dinner (Corned Beef & Cabbage)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I am a vegetarian.  Not the strictest ever – as I will eat Worcestershire sauce (anchovies) and that sort of thing & I do not get all freaky if my veggie dog kisses a real hot dog on the grill.  But I haven’t had boiled dinner (as we called it when I was growing up) in a good 35 years or more and I certainly have never made it.  I wasn’t going to make it yesterday, either, but I had a small group to feed and a few very finicky palates.  I couldn’t find anything that one guest and I had in common – food-wise – except pizza & spaghetti and I didn’t want to do that for a St. Patrick’s Day meal.  I decided to make the Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions


and I was considering some sort of vegan colcannon and maybe a vegetarian Irish stew but it was already 80 degrees in LA yesterday by 10AM.  All that cooking seemed oppressive in the heat.  Then I saw the brisket/corned beef thingies and saw that I could buy 4 lbs of the stuff for $10.  Fuck it, I thought.  The directions literally read “Boil for 2 hours.”  I knew I could pull that off.  So – I put it in my basket with some potatoes, carrots, cabbage & turnips & headed out.

My 4 lb piece of meat fed 6 people – what with the mac & cheese and the boiled veggies.

The recipe is thus:

Corned beef with spices in the bag





Put the meat (and whatever “juice” and spices (usually pepper corns & bay leaves) in a pot with enough water to cover it by an inch.  Bring to a rapid boil & reduce to simmer for two hours.

Peel your veggies & cut them into big chunks.  I cut the cabbage into 6 wedges with the core in tact.  When you are about 20-30 minutes from eating – add the veggies to the meat & let simmer until tender.

I cooked some veggies separate with a vegetable bouillon cube or two, peppercorns & bay leaves so I could eat some.

Then – cut the meat in the opposite direction from the grain.  Put it on a platter with the boiled vegetables & serve.  When I grew up – the traditional condiment for this dish was French’s yellow mustard.  Period.  Seriously.  Yesterday – I ate my veggies with a jalapeno mustard.  All the charm of tradition with just a little kick.

And there you have it!





Summer Red Potato Salad with Egg & Simple Cole Slaw


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


I made these two dishes to accompany my Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Marinated BBQ Pork Loin on Easter Sunday.  I set out a simple buffet of reasonably inexpensive foods that could be made ahead & set out on a buffet so that I could enjoy the party along with my guests, rather than be stuck slaving in the kitchen all stressed out, cranky & sweaty.   It was genius.  My boyfriend, Miles, made a potato au gratin that we served on the buffet out of a slow cooker, my friend Alyse served her turkey meatballs the same way and with the addition of two slabs of grilled salmon, a cheese selection, my zucchini, mint & goat cheese terrine and some bread, crackers & condiments for the pork – the spread was complete.  I made everyone (about 18 people) use paper plates & plastic cutlery.  The cleanup pretty much all happened before my first guest arrived.  It was the least stressful & easiest to clean-up-after party I have ever thrown.    Still – I was a tad hectic getting it all prepared & out on Easter Sunday so my photographs are a bit underwhelming.  Please try to forgive!  🙂

At any rate – these two cold sides were easy to make & don’t really have anything controversial in them.  If your folks hate onion or something – just leave it out.  Also – I didn’t do it here because of the BBQ pork (and not wanting to overkill the whole BBQ thing) – but a few tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce is amazing in potato salad.  Finally, I did not peel my potatoes but you certainly can if the skins bother you (especially with russets or some other dirtier potato).



Summer Red Potato Salad with Egg


5 lbs red potatoes (or other potato) – cubed into bite size chunks

3 celery stalks – diced

1 small onion – minced

5 scallions – diced (some green slices reserved for garnish)

5 eggs – hard boiled & chopped

1 lg zucchini – diced (VERY optional)

2 cups mayonnaise

1/3 cup plus 2 TBS Dijon mustard

S&P to taste

Sweet or hot paprika as garnish

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS: BBQ sauce, sriracha, Tabasco, minced chipotle or adobo sauce, horseradish sauce, wasabi.


Boil the cubed potatoes until just tender.  You can boil the eggs in the same pan with the potatoes.  Test by spiking one with a fork & lifting it out of the water.  When done – the potato will slowly drop from the fork.  Try not to overcook them.  When done – drain & plunge into cold water & set aside.

Cool, peel & chop the eggs.

Drain the potatoes & then simply mix all the ingredients.  Garnish with the remaining chopped scallions & paprika.



Simple Cole Slaw (this makes a LOT)


1 small head cabbage – shredded

1/2 head red cabbage – shredded

1 lb carrots – grated

4 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups milk

1 TBS sugar

2 TBS black sesame seeds (as garnish)

2 TBS pepper

salt to taste


Mix all the ingredients (except the sesame seeds) in a large bowl.  Garnish with sesame seeds.  Done!