Soon to be upon us is the hallowed day of 17 March; the day when rivers flow as green as the beer and people all over the world try out the worst Irish accents this side of a box of marshmallow and crunch cereal. Yes, Saint Patrick’s Day is almost here. With this day comes the habit of wearing green to avoid being pinched (although today, we’re not sure if anyone actually pinches anyone anymore outside of elementary school), a plethora of shamrock shaped (and flavored) things, and of course, the ubiquitous corned beef and cabbage. We here at Crucial love St. Patrick’s Day and everything that comes with it. While we could delve into why we wear green or what in the world a short fellow wearing a green coat and top hat has to do with anything, we choose instead to focus on a much more important day. 18 March; the day after St. Patrick’s Day, the day of recovery, or as it is found on the liturgical calendar, Saint Cyril’s Day.
What do you do on this hallowed day? Well, that depends on how you celebrated the day before. If you got a little too rowdy, perhaps the day would best be spent with a few glasses of water, some Tylenol, and a whispered resolution not to do it again next year. If you’re like us, however, and you spent it with good friends over a large cut of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread, you’re wondering what to do with the St. Patrick’s Day leftovers. Well, we’re here to help you with that. There are several things that you can do with left over corned beef. Some of our favorites are a twist on the hallowed Reuben, a little bit of home-style hash, and last (but definitely not least), a good old fashioned bubble and squeak.
First, the Reuben; everyone has heard of a Reuben (or they should have). Thinly sliced layers of corned beef on rye bread with Swiss cheese and some Russian dressing draped in sauerkraut makes for one heck of a sandwich. It also makes for one heck of a mess and building individual Reubens for everyone is kind of a hassle. Instead, we opt in for a Reuben Casserole that combines all the great flavors of the sandwich in a not-so-messy format. Plus it’s easy to cook and even easier to eat. It literally takes about fifteen minutes to prep and a half-hour to bake. One bite and you’ll have another St. Cyril’s Day tradition on hand. Find the recipe here.
Another way that we like to make use of our potato and corned beef leftovers is by making a classic corned beef hash. Unfortunately it’s also a dish that often gets short shrift, simply because most people only know it from the tins that you find in the grocery. This version is worlds apart from that travesty and isn’t difficult to make. The prep has a little more chopping, simply because you want the potatoes and corned beef to be bite-sized. The recipe is here, and you can omit the carrots if you like, but they do add flavor and vitamins. This is a great dish that is well served by just a little extra time in the skillet so the potatoes can get a little crispier (if you like them that way). Serve with leftover toasted soda bread and fried eggs. And trust us, once you’ve had this, you’ll never go back to that stuff you dig out of a can ever again.
The last recipe that makes it into our traditional St. Cyril’s Day feast is a classic Bubble and Squeak. This dish is traditionally made on Monday mornings in the United Kingdom to use the leftovers from Sunday Roasts (which is another great tradition that we’ll talk about some other day). Essentially, the bits and bobs, the leftover ends and cabbage, the carrots, peas, and other vegetables all get chopped up, put into a pan and fried. The name comes from how the dish reacts when it’s cooked. It bubbles in the middle and lets out little squeaks. It’s similar to the corned beef hash, but the main difference is that the Bubble and Squeak uses everything. There are as many variations on this recipe as there are cooks in the UK, but it essentially comes to this.
Bubble and Squeak, Crucial-Style
1. Chop ½ onion finely
2. Take your leftover potatoes and chop them (or not if you had mashed)
3. Take your cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and chop them into bite sized pieces
4. Chop your corned beef into bite sized pieces
5. Chop three cloves of garlic up (We love garlic and believe it belongs in almost everything)
6. In a large frying pan or skillet over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the garlic and onion.
7. Sauté for about two minutes or until everything is softened.
8. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
9. Press mixture down with a spatula and let it cook undisturbed for about ten minutes. (This is important to make the Bubble and Squeak different from a hash. If you stir it up, it becomes a hash).
10. After it’s browned and holds its shape, flip it over and press it down again.
11. Let it cook for another ten minutes or until it is golden brown.
12. Turn out onto a cutting board and slice into wedges. Serve with leftover Irish Soda Bread.
Now you know what to do with your St. Patrick’s Day leftovers. With these three recipes, you and your family and friends are sure to enjoy celebrating St. Cyril’s day just as much as we do. We at Crucial would also like to remind you that if you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a little more rowdy fashion, to stay safe and use a designated driver or a taxi service to get home.