The following information was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder.
There’s a saying that “Everyone is Irish on March 17th”.
By observing the old ways and remembering their homeland with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Irish helped to unite the scattered Irish and would-be Irish as well. Every year on March 17th we wear something green, attend parades or even dress the family pet as an adorable Irish leprechaun. But, perhaps the best way to celebrate the Irish is with a traditional meal of salty, tender corned beef and the Irish side dishes that made it famous.
So, what exactly is corned beef? Corned beef is made from brisket, a relatively inexpensive cut of beef that comes from the breast or lower chest of a cow. It’s cured in a salt, sugar and spiced brine, then slowly cooked over low heat, turning a tough cut of beef into a tender, flavorful meal. (By the way, when you purchase a corned beef brisket, make sure to rinse it before cooking or it may be too salty.)
There are countless ways to prepare corned beef, but a key rule of thumb is to cook it at a low temperature until tender (about 3 hours) and cut it across the grain as you would a steak for the best results. It’s super easy to cook corned beef in a slow cooker, oven or even on the stovetop, which gives you plenty of time to prepare a few Irish-inspired sides to go with it.
Many corned beef recipes will call for the beef to be cooked with cabbage, carrots and potatoes, but there are so many more interesting options, some of which you can even purchase premade from Heinen’s Prepared Foods Department.
This selection is heavy on the potatoes because, well, who would argue that buttery potatoes in any way, shape or form make any meal more delicious? Check out the list below for the best “plate mates” to pair with corned beef this side of the Emerald Isle.
Pre-Packaged Sides from Heinen’s Prepared Foods Department
Conveniently packaged for you to grab during your grocery haul, these ready-to-heat sides are made in Heinen’s kitchens with a hint of Irish flare and a whole lot of flavor!
- Mac and Cheese is the perfect creamy, cheesy partner with salty, spicy corned beef.
- Coleslaw is a cold and creamy salad that pairs beautifully with hamburgers, hot dogs and, you guessed it, corned beef!
- Potato and Cheese Pierogies with Sautéed Onions can be a meal in itself, but it’s especially delicious paired with a tender, briny slice of beef.
- Cabbage and Noodles is one of the homiest dishes that’s been warming tummies for hundreds of years. Why stop now?
- Roasted Redskin Potatoes add color and crispy, creamy texture to a heaping plate of this fan-favorite cured cut of beef.
Premade Sides in Heinen’s Prepared Foods Case
Displayed behind the glass of Heinen’s gorgeous gourmet case, simply ask a Heinen’s Prepared Foods associate to package one (or a few) of these delicious options for you, and you’re well on your way to a complete corned beef dinner!
- Four Cheese Potato Croquette is a crunchy-on-the-outside, creamy-and-cheesy-on-the-inside potato side dish that will become a family favorite with not only corned beef, but steak or roasts as well.
- Twice Baked Potato ticks all the boxes for a corned beef side dish – potato, cheese and green onions. Yum!
- Roasted Root Vegetables are sweet and savory all at the same time and include carrots, parsnips, turnips and potatoes.
Sides YOU Can Cook with Ease
If you have a little extra time on your hands and are feeling really lucky, check out these festive side dish ideas that can easily come together at home using recipes from Heinen’s.
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes are one of the easiest and most delicious ways to make corned beef sing. Is it a sauce or a side? All we know is that we want a little smidge of meat and potato in each bite.
- Potato Gratin or Scalloped Potatoes just like Grandma used to make. Cheesy potatoes are guaranteed to take this meal to the next level with all that warm and creamy potato goodness.
- Balsamic Glazed Green Beans add that touch of green and texture we often look for on the plate. These rich beans do not disappoint.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pecans and Cranberries makes this meal a holiday with crispy little baby cabbages, sweet nuts and tart berries.
- Irish Colcannon Potatoes are the perfect way to get some healthy greens onto your family’s plate, and let’s not forget the buttery-creamy mashed potatoes that hold it all together.
- Homemade Dinner Rolls are welcome just about any time, but especially when you can use them to make a little corned beef sandwich!
Additional St. Patrick’s Day Side Dish Ideas
The premade sides and recipe above will surely keep you busy and satisfied on St. Patrick’s Day, but if you’re in need of even more inspiration, here are a few additional traditional side dishes to try at home!
- Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage is often paired with Germany’s sauerbraten, which is the same cut of meat as corned beef with a little different flavoring. It’s just as delicious with corned beef.
- Sauerkraut can even be cooked with the corned beef. Simply drain some of the liquid from the sauerkraut and replace it with a little beef broth for a tangy change-up. Check out the Cleveland Kitchen varieties in Heinen’s Deli Department for a tasty shortcut!
- Irish Soda Bread couldn’t be easier to make. It’s really a quick bread studded with raisins. When slathered with butter, it’s Irish heaven
- Champ is mashed potatoes with lots of butter and green onions mixed in. Colorful and savory, this dish is a yes!
- Horseradish and/or Mustard Sauce go beautifully with the corned beef. Spicy with creamy heat or tart with mustard, both bring out the best in this cut of meat!
Is it really St. Patrick’s Day if you don’t eat corned beef? Some people don’t think so. When the Irish immigrated to the shores of this new world, they took comfort in continuing the celebration and cultural lore honoring St. Patrick.
Thanks to them, we enjoy corned beef, cabbage, soda bread and a green beer or two along with a good dose of Irish good luck and comfort. Whether you’re feeding a crowd on St. Paddy’s Day, or you just want a festive meal for the family, these options are sure to unite your clan around a festive table. Erin Go Bragh or Ireland Forever!