Once St. Patrick’s Day is over, everyone is left with the conundrum of what to do with the leftover corned beef. In the past I have made corned beef hash, corned beef and leek soup, and of course sandwiches. But I have never tried combining corned beef and coleslaw before. And I have to admit it is pretty darned amazing!
Serving corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day is actually an American tradition started by Irish immigrants. When they arrived here beef was plentiful and inexpensive, so they adapted their traditional meals to incorporate the new local ingredients.
Corned beef is a fairly strong flavored meet that stands up well to bold flavors which is why it is often served with mustards. When I was thinking about what to add to my sandwich, I decided that a cabbage slaw was a fun departure from the norm, but didn’t want the typical mild, sweet version.
I decided to use a combination of dill, celery seed, and ranch dressing base to boost the flavor profile and add a lot of bell peppers. It is wonderful and absolutely perfect for the corned beef sandwiches! Both The Artist and I really enjoyed them for dinner last night!
You can use ranch dressing packets for flavoring, but I used Penzey’s Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Base. It gives you a very similar flavor and you can customize it to suit your own preferences. The extra dill was nicely balanced and the celery seed gave it some of the expected traditional flavor.
Because The Artist doesn’t like his slaw too “wet” I had extra dressing left over. I added some more mayonnaise and buttermilk, turning it into a thinner ranch-style salad dressing. It will make a nice lunch today with greens and chopped fresh vegetables! You could also use this dressing as a dip for crudité vegetables. I’ll bet you would love it!
Enjoy you St. Patrick’s celebrations, wear your green and make sure you say Go Maire Tu (May You Live Long!) to the Leprechauns!!
Have a fabulous weekend!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Make the slaw a couple of days in advance so you don’t have to wait for it when you want your sandwiches. This recipe easily doubles or triples for larger gatherings. The longer it sits, the wetter it becomes (because the cabbage continues to give off liquid). Drain off the excess before placing on the sandwiches or they will be soggy. Cutting lettuce and cabbage with a metal knife can accelerate discoloration. Use a ceramic knife if you have one anytime you are making coleslaw or chopping salad.
- 1/2 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded or chopped
- 1 tbsp kosher or sea salt
- 2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, stem and seeds discarded, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (low fat is fine)
- 3 tbsp buttermilk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
- 1 tsp ground celery seed
- 1 tsp buttermilk ranch dressing base
- 1 to 2 tsp granulated sugar, to taste (optional)
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 8 slices of sturdy bread (or gluten-free bread), toasted
- Coarse mustard
- Mayonnaise (low-fat is OK)
- 1/3 to 1/2 lb thinly sliced leftover corned beef, at room temperature
- 8 slices Swiss, Gruyere, or Emmental cheese
- Prep the Cabbage: Place the sliced cabbage in a colander set over a large bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle liberally with salt, toss well, and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the colander occasionally. This will help draw out most of the moisture from the cabbage while leaving it crisp. Rinse under cold running water, tossing to be certain all excess salt has been washed away. Shake the colander well to remove excess liquid.
- Add the peppers to the cabbage and toss together and set the colander to drain for another 10 minutes, shaking the colander occasionally to remove excess liquid.
- Make the Dressing: While the cabbage is draining, in a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, dill, celery seed, ranch base, and sugar. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings until you get the flavor you like. Keep the dressing thicker than normal because there will be residual liquid in the cabbage that will thin it.
- Make the Slaw: Open a clean white cotton kitchen towel (so you can bleach it later) and place the cabbage and peppers in the center. Pull the ends up together and twist until tight. The tighter you twist the towel the more liquid will be extracted. Squeeze the towel to release as much of the excess liquid as possible. Transfer to a mixing bowl. (If the peppers bled onto the towel, you can bleach it if it isn't colored - a reason why all restaurant towels are always white!)
- Pour 2 to 3 tbsp of the dressing over the cabbage and peppers. Toss until everything is evenly coated, adding more of the sauce if needed. Some people like really “wet” slaw and others prefer a drier version.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until cool, 2 to 3 hours. If you prefer warm slaw on your sandwiches, you can skip the chilling or remove the slaw from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving to warm up.
- Assemble the Sandwiches: Set out the slices of bread in sets of two on a work surface. Spread one slice of each set with the mustard and the other slices with the mayonnaise. Place a slice of cheese on each piece of bread, top half of the bread with the corned beef. Place a large spoonful of slaw on top of the meat. Set the second set of bread pieces (with the cheese) on top of the slaw.
- Cut each sandwich in half and serve immediately. Store any leftover slaw, covered, in the refrigerator up to a week.
- If you want to turn the leftover slaw dressing into a salad dressing, whisk in another couple of tablespoons each of mayonnaise and buttermilk until thinned. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
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