Sunday, March 10, 2013

Antique Cookbook Sunday! 

What is better for a Sunday dinner than a boiled dinner? A what? You may ask dismayed and confused. A boiled dinner needed no explanation. We all knew what boiled dinner people were referring to. The boiled dinner that was a staple in my childhood kitchen and in the kitchens of most of the families of Irish heritage in the Boston Area.  Of course I am talking about boiled Corned beef in a pot boiling on the stove with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, and anything else that was on sale that week.

My mom always made her boiled dinner in a huge oval shaped covered pot that looked old, dented, and well used, even when I was a little kid. I always assumed that it was her mom’s or her grandmothers. But by the time I remembered to ask the cancer drugs made her so loopy that she couldn’t remember.

I found this recipe in The New Yankee Cookbook, Ironically dated 1939.
I love this cookbook of old Yankee recipes. Reading it reminds me of my mom and my nana who loved New England and taught me about the generations of scrappy hard working women of my family came before us.   

New England Boiled Dinner

§  4 pounds corned beef
§  15 peppercorns
§  8 whole cloves
§  1 bay leaf
§  8 small beets
§  2 turnips, cut into pieces
§  16 small new potatoes, peeled
§  16 baby carrots
§  8 small white onions
§  1 head cabbage, cut into 8 wedge-shaped pieces

Cover beef with water and simmer 10 minutes, covered, in a large kettle. Skim off and discard the residue that forms on top of water. Add peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer 3 hours or until meat is tender. Put beets in separate pan with a little water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Add turnips, potatoes, carrots, and onions to kettle with meat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes longer. Add cabbage and cook, covered, 15 minutes more. Remove meat, cut into serving pieces, and place on platter surrounded with well-drained vegetables.

My mom shoved it all in the pot on our old brown gas stove for what seemed like all day and let nature take its course.  Mash it all together and serve with a butter on top. Now that’s New England Boiled Dinner.

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