Breaking Tradition

When a holiday rolls around, we're all about celebrating it. With food. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's and St. Patty's Day. They all have a special meal attached to the occasion and sometimes we'll even invite some friends over as well.

We might stay true to holiday traditions and, then again, we might change things up a little. Depends on our mood, the moon, stars and various other elements that determine how we are going to enjoy that special day.

It was a month before St. Patty's Day when David started taking about corned beef. So when the Irish holiday finally rolled around, I knew corned beef was on the menu. This has been a part of David's rituals as long as I can remember. Corned beef is his "thing"--remember, he is from New York where you will find the best corned beef sandwich. While corned beef is not my "thing," the sides are what I'm all about. Cabbage is an obligatory staple with corned beef. And potatoes are also a required element of the annual Irish celebration.

This year, we decided to contemporize our menu a bit. Rather than the staid sauerkraut or buttered cabbage, we opted for a red wine braised red cabbage dish--giving my own German heritage a little love as well on this fine day. And no matter how good boiled potatoes are with butter and parsley, we agreed on potato pancakes for this year's St. Patty's Day meal. Again, with a nod to my German heritage.

As we celebrate the Irish (and the German) this year, we also do this with a nice cold beer. The Germans in my lineage would be so proud.

Buen provecho!

St. Patty's Day celebration featured homemade corned beef
with mustard and horseradish,
red wine braised red cabbage and potato pancakes
topped with a dollop of sour cream


Red Wine Braised Red Cabbage
The Cowgirl Gourmet found this recipe on Epicurious.com and slightly adapted the recipe from the February 1998 issue of Bon Appetit

Print recipe

A little tang, a hint of sweetness, this cabbage recipe hit the spot. While we enjoyed it on St. Patty's Day, I think it would be perfect just about any day. Serve with roasted meat, chicken or even pork, this is a great alternative to the traditional sauerkraut and a nice change to buttered cabbage.


Serves 4-6

1 slice of thick-cut, nitrate-free, uncured bacon, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, sop it up with a paper towel and then melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, apple and onion and the cooked bacon. Saute until cabbage is crisp tender, about 6-10 minutes.

Add the wine and vinegar and cover, cooking until cabbage is tender and the liquid mostly evaporates, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the honey and cook another few minutes so everything melds together.


Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper and even a bit more honey, if desired.

Serve and enjoy.


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