As St. Patrick's day approaches, the Irish—and those Irish-for-a-day folks—are eagerly anticipating their yearly consumption of corned beef and cabbage on March 17. Many believe the dish is the national dish of Ireland. It is, after all, eaten on the day that celebrates the patron saint of Ireland. Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of the country. While it's true that Ireland has no snakes, it's not true that the Irish eat corned beef and cabbage. That's an American Irish tradition.
In Ireland, they're much more likely to eat boiled bacon and cabbage on a special occasion. What the Irish call bacon is actually any pork joint or roast, such as a pork butt. The only cut they don't call bacon is the leg, which is called the ham. Historically, beef was scarce and expensive in Ireland, so only the wealthy ate it. Commoners could afford pork, so that is what they eat today.
When Irish immigrants came to the United States, they couldn't find the salted bacon they were used to in Ireland. But in America, beef was cheap. So, they began salting beef instead. The salt they used was in little nuggets the size of corn kernels, earning the dish its name: corned beef.
The custom spread to the rest of the United States and hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, celebrate St. Paddy's day with corned beef and cabbage. It's not only easily cooked at home, but many restaurants and pubs feature it for kiss-me-I'm-Irish revelers.
Corned beef does tend to be salty due to the corning process, but fortunately, you can remove some of the salt. Follow the cooking directions that come with the brined brisket you can buy at the grocery store. Reserve the spice packet that comes with it. Change the cooking water during the preparation anywhere from one to three times. The more times you change the water, the more salt will be removed. Add the spice packet when you are done changing the water. Then when there's about 15 minutes remaining to cook, quarter your head of cabbage, place it on top, cover and let it steam until the cabbage reaches the desired tenderness.
If you prefer to get your Irish meal dining out, there are several options in the Chesterfield area:
Lester's Sports Bar and Grill, 14810 Clayton Road, Chesterfield, 636-230-0055
Lester's will be serving a traditional corned beef dinner, with cabbage and new potatoes. They also have a full menu featuring salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, barbeque, and pizza. Kid's menu available.
, 930 Kehrs Mill Road, Ballwin, 636-394-2199
Just over the border from Chesterfield, Clancy's has corned beef and cabbage on the menu all the time, so they've got it down by now. They also feature a full menu including a variety of salads, steaks, shrimp, and traditional bar fare.
Krieger's Pub & Grill, 1684 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, 636-530-9665
Krieger's is featuring a variety of Irish dishes and drink specials all day on St. Paddy's day. Their regular extensive menu features salads, pasta, pizza, steaks, chicken and ribs.
The Sports Page, 13431 Olive Blvd, Chesterfield, 314-434-4115
If you don't care for corned beef but still want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the Sports Page offers homemade Irish stew. They also have their famous burgers, wings, and a variety of sandwiches.
The Press Box, 1095 Chesterfield Pkwy E, Chesterfield, 636-536-9440
The Press Box will be serving both corned beef and cabbage and Irish lamb stew. Not a corned beef eater? Try their artisan burgers, sandwiches or homemade pizza instead.