Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 
                Vintage Cuisine - Corned Pork & Cabbage

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 15 years I've produced my share of live tv cooking segments, but never had much time to devote to cooking myself.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the east end of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Cooking, living, exploring and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

If you're Irish-American or you just enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day, you may be planning to dig into some corned beef and cabbage this weekend. After all, it's the traditional dish of the Emerald Isle, right?  Well, not quite.

Corned Beef and Cabbage is actually more of an Irish-American creation that came about on this side of the pond.

Back in 1800's Ireland cows were more often kept for milk, instead of meat. Beef was an expensive luxury that most poor
and working class people could not afford.

While beef, including corned beef, was a big industry in Ireland, most of it was exported to countries like England, France and later the United States.

The beef was "corned" by packing and storing a salt-cured brisket into barrels with coarse grains or "corns" of salt. But with most of their beef either being exported or unaffordable, most Irish citizens turned to other choices for their protein source.

For example, to celebrate a holiday meal, Ireland's working class were more likely to cook up a ham or bacon joint (a cured piece of pork) with their cabbage and potatoes. Beef was expensive and therefore not a big part of the national cuisine at that time.

But when thousands of Irish immigrants came to the U.S. in the mid 19th century during the Potato Famine, they had to adjust their eating habits to what was available in the new world. Bacon joints were not as easy to come by, so they looked for a cheap replacement and that replacement was the Jewish Corned Beef Brisket.

The Jewish kosher corned brisket was similar in taste and texture to the Irish salted or corned pork and it was affordable. Here in the U.S. corned beef was now an affordable food for the working classes and soon became a staple of the Irish immigrant diet.

While there is a place for corned beef in Irish cuisine, it is not considered a national Irish dish, like Irish Stew or Shepherd's Pie.

Then once the stigma of eating "working class food" faded here in the U.S. and Irish-American pride grew, the tradition of eating Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick's Day became an exclusively Irish-American tradition.  Today many Americans enjoy this dish, whether they're of Irish heritage or not.

So I wanted to try Ireland's original Salted Pork and Cabbage 
dish. What would it taste like, compared to our traditional corned beef?  I searched online and found this recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit, which I modified a bit. 

                      CORNED PORK & CABBAGE

  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 cups coarse kosher salt
  • 1 6 1/2-pound bone-in-pork shoulder roast,
  •  excess fat trimmed
  • 6 large heads of garlic, halved crosswise 
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large head of green cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut crosswise in half
  • Spicy mustard and or horse radish

Combine 1 gallon water and salt in large heavy pot. Stir until salt dissolves. Add pork. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days. 2 days is better.

Bring pork in salt water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Carefully drain salt water and remove the pork from the pot.

Cutting small, 1-inch slits in the pork, stuff them with half of the sliced garlic. Put the pork back into the pot and refill the pot with enough cold water to cover the pork. Bring that water to a boil over high heat.

Add the rest of the garlic and the peppercorns. Transfer water and pork to slow cooker or continue cooking on stove.

Cover and simmer for the next 3 hours until pork is tender.
About one hour before you plan to eat, add carrots and cabbage wedges. Meat is ready when it falls off the bone.

If you like boiled potatoes with your dish, make them as usual. I'm not a big fan and instead made mashed potatoes.

If you're not a big fan of garlic, cut the garlic by half.

I have to be honest and say I was worried that I was ruining a perfectly good pork shoulder by boiling it, but it was really good. The meat was tender and juicy and the salt had permeated the meat deliciously, but not by too much.

After just a few hours of cooking, the garlic and peppercorns had infused the meat and vegetables with their tangy and garlicky flavor. The flavors of the two corned meats are similar, but the pork flavor definately resonates here, you can tell the difference.

I like to mix spicy brown mustard with horse radish, which really makes a dish like this explode, but regular mustard is fine too. It's a tasty and different take on a holiday tradition.

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