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Corned Beef

Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes

It is that wonderful time of year where my Jewish and Irish heritages intersect in the culinary delight that is Corned Beef.  Corned beef began as a Jewish butcher/deli staple, but the original Irish dish was cabbage and bacon.  During the great period of  American immigration at the turn of the last century, Irish and Jewish immigrants tended to settle in nearby neighborhoods of major cities, like the Lower East Side of New York and the hometown of both my parents, the South Side of Chicago. The Irish immigrants found bacon in America to be expensive and discovered from their Jewish neighbors the joy of corned beef. Today corned beef and cabbage has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day, and the grocery stores are piled high with pre-brined briskets with little spice packets included. Corned beef also remains a delight of the Jewish deli and the key ingredient for the most joyous of all Jewish sandwiches : The Reuben. I have started my own little tradition of brining a corned beef brisket to serve with cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day and then using the leftovers for Reubens. Much like anyone with with the smallest ounce of Irish blood, St. Patrick’s Day is the one time of year I fully embrace my Irish heritage. While my culinary taste run closer to the Kushner side of the family, once a year I proudly give thanks to the O’Brien side for the ability to hold my liquor and appreciate a fine whiskey, but, much like corned beef, I can thank both side for the recessive gene that gave me my red hair (and the unwavering talent for inflicting guilt).

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Filed under Deli, Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Meat