Corned Beef & Cabbage, Champ & Soda Bread for St Patrick’s Day

IMG_8076104_2404I remember one St. Patrick’s Day in particular. I was a first grader at St. Margaret of Cortona School. Sister Justina asked me why I wasn’t wearing a green ribbon in my hair. “Because I’m Lebanese”, I replied timidly. The real reason, I suspect, is that Mom couldn’t afford to buy green ribbon for us 8 girls. Sister chuckled and said, “You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.”  And she was right. We can all be a bit Irish on St. Pat’s Day!

Use the Instant Pot

The instant pot has hit mainstream kitchens in a big way. Northern Ky. reader Nicole Morgan is a fan, and so is friend Carol Vanover, an Indiana reader – they both convinced me to try the pot.  I’ll be sharing recipes from Carol and Nicole along with their instant pot stories soon.

Wow! The beef was done in an hour and 15 minutes. (It would have taken a minimum of 4 hours in the slow cooker).  I took the meat out and then cooked the cabbage, carrots and potatoes for about 6 minutes.

The instant pot is a multi-cooker that’s also a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker (and it’s amazingly quiet and consistent), sauté/browning pan, rice cooker, and more. So far all I’ve used it for is a pressure cooker. As I evolve with it, I’ll share more recipes using other features.

Slow Cooker

Now if you want, you can always use the regular slow cooker for this recipe, just put the vegetables in the slow cooker first with the meat on top, and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6.

To go along with the corned beef, make a loaf of soda bread and a side of champs.

Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage


Corned beef with spice packet, about 2#

2 bay leaves

1 head of cabbage, wedged

1 pound carrots, chunked up

4-5 nice red potatoes, quartered or chunked up

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

Horseradish and red wine vinegar


Put corned beef, fat side up, spices, bay and water into pot. Cook on high pressure 1 hour and 15 minutes. Meat will register at least 145 when it’s done. Do a quick release, remove meat and add vegetables. Cook on high about 6 minutes. Do a quick release. Remove bay leaves, season, slice meat and enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget to pass the horseradish and red wine vinegar!

Is it done?

From USDA: Corned beef is ready when temperature reaches at least 145 degrees and has stood for about 20 minutes after removing it from heat. It will still look a bit pink due to the corning/salt process but you’re good to go.


Moist and buttery soda bread

Bet you can’t eat just one slice. I use my food processor, but you can use a mixer or do it by hand.


2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 heaping cup dried cherries, raisins, cranberries or favorite dried fruit

1 cup regular sour cream

Melted butter

A bit of turbinado or coarse sugar (opt but good)


Preheat oven to 375. Place piece of parchment on cookie sheet and spray parchment.

Mix flour, soda, salt, sugar and butter until crumbly. Add cherries. Toss to combine. This keeps fruit suspended in the bread.

Blend in sour cream. Form into mound-shaped circle about 6 inches wide and 2 or so inches tall. Place on cookie sheet and make a cross in the middle. (This is to let the devils out, or is it to keep them from coming in?!).

Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Check after 40 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

This has a puddle of butter in the middle. Eat from outside to inside, dipping each bite into butter.

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, chunked up and cooked

1/2 cup whipping cream or half & half

1/2 stick butter

1 leek, sliced thin or 4 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

While potatoes are cooking, bring cream and butter to simmer and stir in leeks. Remove from heat, cover and let steep while potatoes cook. Mash potatoes, add enough cream mixture to make potatoes creamy. Make well in center, put dab of butter there to melt and make puddle.

2 thoughts on “Corned Beef & Cabbage, Champ & Soda Bread for St Patrick’s Day

  1. Hi Rita, I’ve been listening or reading your columns for years. I’ve just collected about 6 cups of wild grapes and was wondering if you have a good recipe for wild grape jelly?


    1. Oh gosh, how nice and thanks for listening/reading. I have been at it for a long time….

      I just made several batches. A labor of love for sure!

      What I do is stem the grapes, wash them, put in a pan and barely cover with water. Cook and smoosh as they release juices. Strain through cheesecloth. Now you probably won’t have enough juice (but you may) for 3 cups juice, so if necessary, add 100% grape juice (no added sugar) to get 3 cups. Place in large pot with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 box pectin. (I use dry pectin(. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, then add all at once 4-1/4 cups sugar (I know it’s a lot but then jelly requires it). Bring back to a rolling boil, again stirring constantly, and then start timing 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam if necessary. Pour into hot, sterilized jars (you can do that in dishwasher), cap and seal. Turn upside down for 5 minutes to kill any bacterial on inside of lid. Place right side up, cool at room temperature and store in pantry up to a year.


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