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I’m a late with my St. Patty’s Day post, but my excuse is that we actually didn’t even make this “traditional” meal until Saturday. I know…what were we thinking? Something that takes three to four hours to cook just isn’t practical on a week day, but we were determined to give this Americanized meal a try this year, so we indulged ourselves a few days late. The only complaint I have about our corned beef and cabbage is that we didn’t corn our own beef. There’s always next year though, right? Right.

While corned beef and cabbage is in fact an Irish meal, it most definitely isn’t a St. Patty’s Day (or any other day, for that matter) tradition in Ireland. (As noted in one of many interesting articles we found while researching recipes last week.) After reading about Ireland’s “foremost cooking authority,” according to Epicurious, we decided to go with Darina Allen’s recipe with a few Martin twists. Traditional or not, it certainly was delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 6 to 8
– 4 lb corned beef brisket
– 6 onions, quartered
– 1 tsp dry English mustard
– 1 large sprig of thyme and 3 parsley stalks, tied together
– 3 to 4 large carrots, cut into large-ish chunks
– 1 head cabbage, cut into 6 to 8 wedges
– 2 to 3 russet potatoes, quartered
– salt and pepper

As far as one pot meals go, this is a winner. It takes little to no prep work, makes the house smell absolutely fantastic and the end results are worth the time it takes to cook. In a large Dutch oven, put the brisket with the onions, herbs and mustard and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer (covered) for two hours. During this time, you don’t need to do anything to the brisket, just let it simmer away over low heat.

After the brisket has been simmering for two hours, remove the lid and add the carrots, cabbage and potatoes. Make sure everything is submerged in liquid, then return the lid to the pan. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour, until all the veggies are nice and tender. Remove the brisket from the pot and let it rest before slicing it. Serve the meat and vegetables with lots of cooking liquid, some good bread and spicy mustard.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes and Carrots

I happen to love corned beef and cabbage, so I had pretty high expectations for our first attempt at it. The results of three hours of simmering on our stove was delicious. The brisket picked up all the flavors from the mustard (though, I would put more next time) and herbs and the veggies picked up all the delicious flavors from the cooking liquid. Everything was perfectly tender, and the meat pretty much just fell apart. Billy made a delicious Irish soda bread (more on that later) to go along with it, and was absolutely perfect for soaking up all the juices.

I think probably the only thing I would do differently next time is actually corning our own beef. I’ve heard this takes like 10 days, so next year I’ll have to remember that before it’s too late! Luckily, a lot of recipes called for prepared brisket or said it was an okay substitute if corning your own wasn’t possible.

Darina’s original recipe can be found on Epicurious.

While shopping at Costco (don’t you just love that store?) last weekend, we happened to see a package of frozen bison steaks. They were about the same price as the pre-packaged Costco steaks we had picked up already, so we decided to give them a try instead. They came individually wrapped in six ounce portions, which was really convenient since we do that on our own with all the meat we buy there anyway. (On a side note, if you’ve never bought meat from Costco, it’s a really good deal. They have quality meat in large packages for cheaper than traditional grocery stores, a perfect way to stock your freezer for a few weeks.) After getting home and replenishing our freezer, we got to thinking about our menu for the week and made sure to include the bison steaks.

We prepared them just like a regular steak, right on the grill for ten or so minutes (depending on how you like your meat cooked), but we seasoned pretty lightly to let the flavor of the meat really shine. We have a few more steaks, so maybe the next time we make them we’ll be a little more brave and try something creative. Suggestions from anyone who eats gamey meats?

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 2
– 2 6 oz. bison steaks
– garlic powder
– salt and pepper to taste
(- for more flavor you can add steak seasoning or any other seasonings you like)

I’m not a fan of rare meat, but I know when it comes to specific meats and cuts, it’s best to prepare them as close to the rare side as you can handle them. I usually eat my steaks medium to medium-well, but told Billy (AKA, the grill master) to cook the bison to whatever he thought would be best. He came in off the grill with a pretty medium steak for me, and a medium-rare for himself. I thought mine was perfect, but he insisted that his was even more perfect. Either way, medium to medium-rare seems like a safe bet for this particular cut of bison.

Bison Steaks with Mashed Potatoes

I have never had such a tender cut of meat before. The bison just melted in my mouth with each bite. And even though we didn’t go crazy with the seasonings, the steaks were full of flavor. I didn’t taste much of a difference compared to regular steak, the bison just had a hint of a gamey taste. We served the steaks over mashed potatoes and the perfect bite, in my opinion, was a marriage of bison and potatoes. Every “meat and potatoes” person reading this blog has to go find themselves some bison steaks and try this. Enough said. Period.

I’m not a huge fan of steak. I know what you’re thinking — “than why am I reading a blog post about steak kabobs?” — but the truth is, it’s just that I don’t think there are enough variations for cooking steak. Billy loves steak (well, all meat really) and I get burnt out with it pretty easily, so we try to come up with different ways to cook it so it’s not the same all the time. Let me just say that these were probably the best kabobs I’ve ever eaten.

The awesome thing about kabobs of any kind is that they’re really simple to make (well, put together really) and quick, too. You can use any variety of vegetables you like, as long as they’ll hold up on the grill, and any kind of meat…including most shellfish. For our kabobs, we used two colors of bell peppers, onions and steak. All we did to assemble them is cut everything into equal sized pieces so they all cooked in the same amount of time. (Make sure if you’re using wooden skewers to soak them in water for at least 20 minutes so they don’t burn up on the grill.) My personal preference for assembly is pepper, onion, steak, pepper, onion, steak, etc. After the skewers were assembled, we seasoned everything with salt, pepper and garlic powder. That’s it…simple as that.

Kabobs Grilling Away

Kabobs Grilling Away

Sometimes I think it’s funny — and kind of ironic — how some of the simplest meals can be the best tasting. There’s something to be said about few ingredients and little work, I guess. If you’re a kabob fan, let me know about some of your favorite combinations!

On Friday (yikes, I’m behind) we planned on making a surf-n-turf kind of meal — steak and lobster. Billy wanted to grill the steak so I suggested that we also grill the lobster tail. Oh. My. God. Best decision we made all week. We split the tail in half length-wise by flipping it on it’s back (softer side up) and splitting it down the middle with a hefty knife. If you do this, try not to cut all the way through, you want the tail to stay intact while on the grill, but it’s not the end of the world if you have two pieces instead of just one. We stuck two skewers through the butterflied tail to keep it butterflied and to prevent it from curling up during cooking on the grill.

Lobster Tail Ready for the Grill

Lobster Tail Ready for the Grill

We seasoned the lobster with salt, pepper, and a little Cayenne pepper. The steaks got the same, but also some steak seasoning. The steak and lobster went onto the grill at the same time (we like our steak medium, so if you’re cooking it to rare you might want to hold off on the lobster tail for a few) and were cooked perfectly. And that’s it!

Steak and Lobster Grilling Away

Steak and Lobster Grilling Away

Nothing too special or out of the ordinary here, but the meal was so delicious that I had to share. The lobster tail took on a whole different flavor being grilled instead of boiled. The char from the grill gave it that classic summer-grilled taste with a little crunch on the outside, but the meat was so tender, juicy, and tasty. The steak was, well…steak, but it was cooked perfectly and very tender. (Billy gets all the credit for the grilled masterpieces. I just prepare everything and then watch him handle the grill like a pro.) I must say, if you’ve never had a grilled lobster tail, now is the time to try it.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

By the way, we paired the steak and lobster tail with some garlic mashed potatoes and a grilled onion. (We just peeled the onion, cut it in half, put each half in a little aluminum foil pouch with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and threw it on the grill — yum.) Until next time, happy eating!