St. Patrick’s Day

pressure cooker corned beef and cabbage

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

The pressure cooker remains a favorite galley gadget for many sailors. And it is just perfect for your upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration of corned beef and cabbage. What would normally take at least 3 hours to cook, takes half the time; half the propane. And it’s easy, using salted, packaged meat and hearty vegetables that can be stored and banged around for a good long time. So the lesson here…don’t wait for St. Patty’s Day to serve this. Keep corned beef and cabbage in mind year round.

2-3 lbs packaged corned beef brisket, with spice packet
1 bottle of beer
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 stick cinnamon
4-5 cloves
2-4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
6 carrots cut in half
6 red potatoes, quartered
1 head of green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
Salt & pepper

pour beer on corned beef

Take the beef brisket out of its package and place it in your pressure cooker. Most people rinse the meat first but we were low on water (have you been there?) so we just placed it straight in. If you have a basket for your pressure cooker, use it. It helps to easily lift the whole meal out of the pot. Pour a can or bottle of beer plus 2 cups water into the pot.

corned beef in pot

Throw the crushed garlic, spices and the spice packet into the pot. Secure the lid tight, light your stove and bring your pot up to pressure. Once at pressure keep your flame on medium and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. Plenty of time to have a Guinness or two. Or make Irish Soda Bread. Which we did. (see the following post)

pressure cooker and vegetables

After 1 hour 15 minutes, release the pressure according to your particular pressure cooker’s instructions. When all pressure is released, slowly unscrew and remove the lid.

add cabbage potatoes and carrots

Place the vegetables on top of the brisket, return the lid to it’s secured, locked-down position. Light your galley stove and bring your pot up to pressure. Cook under pressure for 8 minutes.

corned beef and cabbage in pressure cooker

Again, release the pressure and slowly unscrew and remove the lid.

pressure cooker corned beef and cabbage close

It is ready to serve with a little pot broth and horseradish. And of course, a Guinness or two. Follow the meal with some Sweet Irish Soda Bread and Irish Coffee.

Melanie’s Sweet Irish Soda Bread

One of the highlights of working at Chesapeake Bay Magazine years ago, was Melanie’s wonderful daily treats during the production of the Boat Show issue. She was kind enough to share this great Sweet Irish Soda Bread recipe with Galley Pirates, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Her’s was the first I’d ever tasted. Have tasted others many times since, but still none compare.

soda bread served

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup currants
2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon sanding or course raw sugar

* most galleys aren’t stocked with buttermilk, but you know the secret, right? Mix a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of milk and let stand for a few minutes as it thickens up.

Preheat your galley oven to about 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt and mix well. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, fork or a pastry cutter work the cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

soda bread crumbles

Add the egg, buttermilk, currants and caraway seeds and mix into the flour mixture.

mixing soda bread

Below is a photo of caraway seeds, regular and black caraway. They have completely different flavors. The regular caraway seeds are far more pungent. That’s what Aquavit is made from. (but a far different ethnicity than today’s Irish feast.) I decided to use a tablespoon of each.

caraway seeds

Once the dough is well mixed it is to be turned out onto a a floured surface (not the chart table, as tempting as it is!) and gently kneaded. Unfortunately I was out of flour at this point so I skipped this step — but it still turned out great!

soda bread melted butter

Place the dough into a greased pan. I like to use cast iron pans in a galley oven to keep the bottom from burning. The flame in galley stoves typically sits so close to the rack it’s easy to burn your baked goods using conventional bread pans. Pour melted butter on pot and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.

soda bread in pan

Let set for a few minutes before slicing. For an added treat serve with Irish coffee.

irish coffee with sprinkles

May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
who says, “this drink’s on me.”

Irish Coffee

irish coffee with sprinkles cropped

First, brew a pot of strong black coffee. Today we used the good ‘ol camp set percolator and some dark roast coffee. Fill water in the pot to just under the basket. Fill the basket full of dark roast coffee. Put the lid on the basket and secure the coffee pot lid. Place on the burner and let ‘er perk. Good chance you’ll get some grounds in your coffee, but that just makes it seem more authentic in my book!

cups, pot and Bushmills

While your coffee is brewing, lightly whip 1/2 cup of cream or so, until it is just thickened a bit. This can be done with a whip or an egg beater.

Pour coffee into the mugs with room (for whiskey!) Drop two sugar cubes into each mug. Stir until the sugar is dissolved thoroughly. Add a shot of Irish Whiskey into each mug. Then gently pour the whipped cream slowly over the top of a spoon into the mugs so it floats on top of the coffee. Top with a little cinnamon sprinkle. Sorry to say we were in such a hurry to drink our Irish coffee we forgot to get photos of that part! Next time. And yes, there definitely will be a NEXT TIME!

irish coffee with sprinkles

Here’s to the land of the shamrock so green,
Here’s to each lad and his darlin colleen,
Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most.
May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!


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