Corned Beef and Cabbage it turns out was not the way the Irish, from the old country, prepared this traditional meal. Until they immigrated to America they used Bacon. In the mid to late 19th century Irish immigrants to America started using Corned Beef instead of Bacon hence creating the Corned Beef and Cabbage dish we’ve all come to look forward to on Saint Patrick’s day. In addition,; a desert called Figgy Duff was a favorite, you’ll find the recipe below.
Bacon or Corned Beef and Cabbage
While in Ireland this meal was made with Bacon rather than Corned Beef because it was more readily available. Corned Beef was a luxury and most could not afford it. Bacon and cabbage was a staple for many families of Ireland and today it continues to be a common meal there.
Corned Beef and Cabbage was prepared with other vegetables like carrots and potatoes, it bares a strong resemblance to the New England Boiled Dinner but with a few less ingredients than the Boil. The New England Boil not only has Corned Beef and cabbage, it also has potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, turnips, and beets. The left overs were diced and fried into a red flannel hash for breakfast the next morning. While preparing this meal the beef is placed in a pot with water and cooked for several hours until the meat is tender, then adding the vegetables to finish cooking with the meat. The beets are cooked and served separately to avoid discoloring the meal.
Also Known as “Jiggs” Dinner
Corned Beef and Cabbage was the favorite meal of Jiggs, the main character in the comic strip “bringing up father” which ran from 1913 to 2000. Jiggs Dinner was sometimes made with turnip greens instead of cabbage. The Jiggs Dinner was also served with Figgy Duff, a traditional bag pudding. (Not to be mistaken for the folk-rock band that emerged in the 1960s). Figgy Duff was cooked in pudding bags and immersed in the broth that the meat and vegetables make. Figgy Duff is sometimes called “Raisin Duff”, the word figgy is an old Cornish term for raisin. The left over vegetables from Jiggs Dinner were often fried to make a dish called Cabbage Hash, much like the flannel hash of the New England Boil.
The Benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and a dietary Fiber. If you read the post about Potatoes you’ll know the benefits of Vit-C but did you know about Vit-K? According to Wikipedia, with Vit-K deficiency blood coagulation is seriously impaired and a deficiency of Vit-K may weaken bones and can lead to osteoporosis. With the combination of vegetables that go into the meal and including the Corned Beef, it is packed full of some of the best vitamins you can have. It’s broth is packed full and broth being a fluid is an addition to what’s healthy for the body. I encourage you to try the New England Boil with it beets is an added treat.
This and the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage is easy to cook. Using a crock pot is probably the best and easiest way to do it. Place Corned Beef in the pot, cover with water and cook for several hours until the meat is tender and almost ready to fall apart, don’t over cook it or it will fall apart and break into small pieces or turn to a mush. As the meat starts to get done put the cabbage and other vegetables of choice in and cook until they’re done. Most Corned Beef comes in a sealed package with the seasons already in the bag. And try Figgy Duff this year and wow your dinner guests or just treat yourself.
1 c. bread crumbs (see directions below)
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. hot water
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. each: ginger, allspice and cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. molasses
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. butter
1 tbsp. vinegar
To make bread crumbs, soak dry bread crusts in enough water to soften. Drain and squeeze bread gently to remove excess water. Break into crumbs and measure 2 cups. Grease 4 cup pudding mold. Mix together crumbs, raisins, molasses and melted butter. Combine baking soda and water and add to crumb mixture. Mix well. Sift flour, ginger, allspice and cinnamon and salt. Stir into crumb mixture.
Pour into greased mold. Cover top with large piece of greased foil and fold snugly over sides of mold to keep steam out. Leave slack in foil to allow pudding to expand. Place mold on rack in steamer or large pot. Add boiling water 1/2 way up side of mold. Cover and steam for 2 hours or firm to touch. Serve with molasses coady topping. Recipe; is complements of cooks.com