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Best potatoes for corned beef and cabbage: St. Patrick's Day 2014 boiled dinner

Corned beef and cabbage, what potatoes to use?
Corned beef and cabbage, what potatoes to use?

A corned beef and cabbage dinner with potatoes and carrots is the March 17, St. Patrick's Day tradition, but what kind of potatoes do you use for your boiled dinner? St. Patrick’s Day 2014 is here with homes around the nation getting ready to boil the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner. Can the type of potato you use make or break the dinner?

According to the Boston Globe on March 16, corned beef is consumed by the masses for St. Patrick's Day. Pearl Packing Co. supplies most of Boston with their corned beef. The company starts getting ready for the holiday at the end of January. They do 75 percent of their corned beef sales for the entire year in their first quarter of the year, thanks to St. Patrick's Day. With all this corned beef goes tons of potatoes, but what which kind do you use?

What is the best potato to use for the corned beef and cabbage ?

Most veteran cooks know that the difference between the various types of potatoes is vast, some are perfect for baking and others are best when boiled. Most corned beef and cabbage recipes today call for just “quartered potatoes,” like IBT suggests this weekend. The type of potato is not offered in even the most elaborate of recipes.

While you wouldn’t use a baking potato, such as the Idaho potato, there are three types of potatoes that work well for a boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage. These potatoes are readily available across the country. The red potato, Yukon Gold potato or white potato work the best when using in a boiled dinner.

You don’t want to use a high-starch potato like the russet, unless you plan on mashing the potato, you want a medium to low-starch potato that holds its shape while still being tender, as suggested in an archived article from Better Homes and Gardens.

These three potatoes have different tastes, like the Yukon Gold, which is known for its butter-like taste. The red potato has a sweeter taste and the white potato has a bit of an earthy taste to it.

Because the potato soaks up all the spices and salt from the corned beef in the water, you don’t necessarily need to pick a potato for taste, unless you are one of the cooks who like to boil their potatoes separate from the corned beef. Many cooks go for the red potato for their corned beef dinner because it adds color to the plate.

The skin of the red potato is usually left on when boiling for this dinner, making it easier to prepare instead of peeling the potatoes. The skin of the Yukon Gold potato can also be left on, as this too cooks to a consistency that’s tender to eat, like the red potato.

The white, or “all-purpose potato” also works well with this boiled dinner, but you might want to peel this potato for boiling. The skin is a bit thicker and while it is fine to eat, it is a bit tough, unlike the Yukon Gold or red potatoes.

For your corned beef and cabbage dinner this St. Patrick’s day, just quarter any of the three potatoes above and add them to your boiling pot. They should cook for about 45 minutes before serving. You can add them to the simmering pot of corned beef, but at that heat, they would need about an hour to get tender.

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