Shopper Kitchen: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

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By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen
After I made my first corned beef and cabbage meal in the slow cooker about ten years ago, I enjoyed the meal so much that it became a tradition to make it on or near St. Patrick’s Day each year. The grocery stores sure make it easy. They package up this pre-brined, ready-to-cook brisket along with its own spice packet and park it by the entrance where shoppers can’t miss it. One year, though, I forgot to buy the cabbage and had to head back to the store. Later, stores started putting the cabbages right there by the packages of corned beef, a helpful pairing to any busy grocery shoppers who might have too much on their to-do lists. (Ahem.)
Have you ever wondered how this cut of meat came to be known as “corned” beef? Or perhaps you’ve wondered whether it actually has anything to do with corn? I did. And it turns out that it has something to do with the salting process.
It’s no surprise that salting beef as a means of preservation has been around for thousands of years, but the term “corned beef” dates only to the 1660s. According to an article by Matt Blitz on foodandwine.com, “Originally the word ‘corn’ came from the Germanic word ‘kurnam,’ meaning ‘small seed.’ In the 17th century, salted beef started taking on the name ‘corned beef’ in some parts of England because of the large ‘kernels’ of rock salt used to preserve it.” And soon, Ireland became the center of the corned beef trade.
I’ve often wondered why I don’t cook corned beef and cabbage more often. So this year, I’ve experimented and cooked a Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup that is a great way to enjoy the flavors of this dish anytime — and it’s also a fine way to use up any leftover corned beef you might have. You can serve this with a salad and some crusty rolls, or go all out on the Irish theme and serve it with slabs of Irish soda bread. However you choose to serve it, enjoy—and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups baby carrots, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups unpeeled baby yellow potatoes, quartered
1 head of cabbage, shredded into 1-inch slices
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons coriander
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
1/2 pound pre-cooked corned beef, chopped (I used thin-sliced corned beef from the deli)
In large stock pot, melt butter and add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or just until softened. Add potatoes, cabbage, chicken broth, bay leaves, coriander, garlic salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Add corned beef and cook until heated through. Remove bay leaves. Yields 10-12 servings.

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