An innovation for Corned Beef, baked not boiled

Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Wine?

Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with a few new twists.

Instead of boiling the poor corny thing, give this traditional Irish dish some respect. Bake it. You’ll be surprised at the difference. This is our favorite recipe (minus the green beer) for a historically flavorless meal. Bring new flavor to it. And, although we all like a great glass of ale with this, trying to find a wine that pairs well with it is challenging.

For starters, the meat is spiced with an unusual assortment of herbs and is often salty. Although boiling the cabbage evokes sweetness from the cabbage leaves, why not roast it and coax a rustic flavor from the vegetable?

We give you the new methods to add flavor and taste with our exclusive recipes.

Read on if you are game to have wine with your corned beef. And, for the more traditional who do not want wine with the meal, we say go with your favorite beer, ale, or stout. According to Joe Power of, he likes Guinness, and says it is the simplest answer. He notes that Guinness has “the smooth, nutty flavors start sweet and finish bitter. Each of those notes will compliment the flavors in the dish.

“The taste is big enough to stand up to the spices. Smithwicks is a good choice for those who find stouts to be too heavy. It is very complex and flavorful so, unlike some other lighter colored Irish beers such as Harp or Bass, it can really hold its own when pitted against a lot of spice. While not Irish, both McEwan’s Scotch Ale and Belhaven Wee Heavy are also good choices. Big, strong, and flavorful, these ales have notes that pair perfectly with the spices in the meat.”

But, let’s charge ahead and draw from the cellar a wine that won’t conflict. There are three wines that play well with Irish food, and in particular, this dish we have written up for our About the Town celebration of St. Paddy’s Day.

Take a look at the Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc offerings from the late Robert Mondavi. Robert Mondavi, who is credited with a stunning marketing idea, began with a particularly fine batch of Sauvignon Blanc grapes and planned to create a wine
in the style of the Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Mondavi had tasted a Pouilly-Fume wine from the Loire Valley and thought he could market a similar wine. Influenced by the flavor palate and the idea, he named his product Fume Blanc. [Trivia and news: His wife, Margrit Biever Mondavi, has co-authored a recent book that some say is a tell-all memoir from Ten Speed Press.)

The second wine that works for some, for this dish, is a good Riesling. The flavors stand tall against the corned beef and cabbage mélange.

The third, which you may have guessed, is the pugnacious Sémillon, from the varieties grown in Australia, mostly in the Hunter Valley area near Sydney, Australia, New South Wales. Often known as a Hunter River Riesling, it may not be a complex wine, but it dances around with bare-knuckle bravery to accept the spiced, salty corned beef in a mannerly Queensbury Rules pairing.

About the Town – Our Fabulous Baked Corned Beef


3 to 4 pounds corned beef

¼ cup white wine (Riesling, Fume Blanc, or Semillon)

2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 orange, sliced (do not remove the peel)

1 onion, sliced

2 celery stalks with leaves, in ½ inch slices

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

To reduce the salt, first cover the corned beef at room temperature in a large pot of water for 30-45 minutes. This will draw out some of the salt.

Preheat the oven to 300o F.

Prepare a sheet of heavy-duty foil that covers a 9×13 baking pan. Remove the corned beef from the water and pat with paper or linen kitchen towels to dry it. Place the corned beef in the center of the foil and pour the white wine over it.

Evenly sprinkle the pickling spices over the meat, add the orange slices on top. Then arrange the onion, celery, and carrot slices on top of the meat and around the pan. Seal the foil up tightly with a long fold and tightly roll up the sides so that the liquid is sealed within the foil.

Bake for 5 hours. Let stand for ten minutes before slicing. Discard the cooked oranges and vegetables.

For more about these wines, visit

Roasted Cabbage

1 head of green cabbage
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
nutmeg (optional)

Cut cabbage into wedges. Arrange the wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Roast at 450 for 20 min. Stir cabbage wedges and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the interior leaves are translucent.

And, for those who enjoy a more serious adult beverage. The Irish Boilermaker.

Gather up your favorite stout beer plus your favorite Irish whiskey.

Fill a pint glass 2/3 full with stout.

Fill a shot glass with either Irish whiskey.

Drop the shot glass into the pint glass and watch it burst forth with joyous bubbles. Sláinte!

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