I'm only a little bit Irish, but I love a good corned beef and cabbage dinner. We always have family over on the closest Sunday to St. Patrick's Day for a big traditional Irish-American meal. Yep, that's right, Irish-American; the traditional meal actually began with the Irish in New York because corned beef was a cheaper alternative to the traditional Irish fare of lamb.
The downside, if you're trying to eat more healthfully, is that the tradtional meal can be a calorie bomb. But with a few small tweaks, you can have your corned beef feast and eat well, too.
The beef: Make sure you ask for an extra-lean cut. Since it's a brisket, you need to cook it for a long time and via a moist method such as slow-cooking, braising or simmering, so there's no point to having a lot of fat anyway...and you'll be cooking it with a ton of vegetables and spices, so you don't need fat for flavor. It is chock-full of sodium (the "corned" part of its name comes from the salt used to cure it) so stick with a smaller portion.
The vegetables: Don't skimp! We always throw in a ton of cabbage, onions and carrots. Make sure those take up at least half of your plate.
The potatoes: Instead of serving them with butter or sour cream, boil redskins whole and toss them with parsley and a hint of lemon, which will bring a nice bright note to this otherwise heavy meal.
The beer: Oh yes, this meal is delicious with a pint of stout. And the good news is that stouts are, surprisingly, lower in calories than many beers and have a ton of antioxidants and flavonoids. And they are so full of flavor it won't be hard to stick with just one.
Do you enjoy corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day?