The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

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St. Patrick’s Day, New Orleans Style

Posted on | March 16, 2011 | Written by Tim Hemphill | No Comments

I moved to New York in 2007, but occasionally I amuse myself reminiscing about the revelry and shenanigans I left behind in New Orleans.  After the Mardi Gras madness has subsided, the uptown neighborhood known as the Irish Channel prepares to unleash the St. Patty’s Day spirit in the Crescent City with old inebriated men greeting the masses with kisses, plastic flowers, and, most importantly, parades.  This time they’re not chucking the traditional beads and golden trinkets; rather, they throw green leafy cabbages.  This ritual stems from one of the city’s best features: its food.  And best of all, the cabbages can later be recycled to create one of the most traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes, corned beef and cabbage.

But the cultural gumbo doesn’t stop there.  Since we also celebrate St. Joseph’s feast day in honor of a patron saint with much Italian heritage,  the two festivals are enjoyed in one effort to honor our national and religious heroes.  This is a fantastic opportunity to mix it up with a savory Irish recipe and luscious Italian wine.  First, I would follow the recipe below for a Southern twist to a traditional Irish dish, as originally prepared at Commander’s Palace (a culinary icon in the Crescent City), for a corned beef and cabbage recipe surely to put an extra jig in your step. (I found the recipe here, and it’s simple, delicious and topical.)

  • 1 corned beef brisket, about 4 lbs.
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 Tbs. liquid crab boil
  • 1 head green cabbage, quartered
  • 2 Tbs. salt

1. Wash the seasonings that were in the vacuum-pack bag off the corned beef, and put it in a large pot of cold water.

2. Put the seasonings, the crab boil, and the onion into the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to the barest possible simmer. Simmer with the cover on for three and a half hours.

3. Boil the cabbage separately in about two gallons of water with 2 Tbs. salt.

4. When the corned beef is cooked, drain it from the water and let it stand for about 20 minutes. Slice it against the grain, noting that the grain in brisket has a way of changing directions as you slice it. The thinner you slice it, the better.

Serve with Creole mustard on the side.

Serves four to six.

Next, find yourself a complementing bottle of Italian wine. I’d go with an Amarone (any Quintarelli will do) with its extraordinary jammy and berry flavors or maybe a tasty Chianti, such as the Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva 2003, with the spicy fruits to blend with the Southern spices.

This decadent combination will definitely keep your Irish eyes a smilin’ and the pot of gold above your belt full and plenty.

 

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