Happy St. Patrick’s Day (And Erin go Bragh)

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef Sandwich
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Article contributed by Chef Gerry Murphy

Wow, it’s been a year and you are still hanging in there! Try to remind yourself that the world is grateful for your abilities as a businessperson and as an operator of a food services establishment.

You and your team were the first to treat the city you love with kindness and hostility, delivering food to all area First Responders. As I write this column, I feel the Covid crisis is finally moving to our side view mirror. So, you still must keep your eye on the road. With the House approving the American Rescue Plan of 2021 which was born as the Restaurant Act Bill, we need you to lobby to get this approved by the Senate. You don’t settle for the crumbs that your elected leaders are tossing at you. Get yourself your staff and friends and family in the legislators offices at their home office and in their state capital offices. You can reach them at 202-224-3121. Your business should demand nothing less than what you had before Covid hit and keep all the crumbs that was tossed into your lap during Covid.

St Patrick’s Day has always been a special day for not only corned beef and cabbage as well as a matching stout. With that in mind, retail wine and cocktail sales should be part of your forever new business plan.

Many states have given us the opportunity to pack wine and spirits to go. The hope is that this new revenue stream will stay in place. With Uber Eats paying $1 billion plus for the beverage delivery service Drizzly last month, clearly it’s here to stay.

As dining patrons return to your dining room, don’t take your eye off the growth of takeout and delivery. Looking down the road what are you doing about delivery do you have a plan to eliminate third party delivery companies or replace them with lower cost options. Be honest have you figured how much you are taking off your bottom line for third party food delivery vendors.

St. Patrick's Day Green BeerSpring is on its way and so is St Patrick’s Day. Why not start looking at March 17th as the middle rather than the end of the “Wearing of the green.” I’m proposing that you turn St Patrick’s Day into a ten-day event. Plan by starting a week out March 11th and run it through the following weekend March 21st.

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What makes this work is that everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day. You can design an Irish themed menu with one fish entrée, a chicken entrée, a vegetable entrée and of course corned beef and cabbage. Have some fun with your Irish menu how about corned beef egg rolls and St. Patrick’s Wings serve both with spicy green dipping sauce. I am also suggesting that the celebration continue by offering a Irish Breakfast Special for lunch (Eggs, venetian beans grilled tomato, black & white pudding small slice, home fries, toast & Irish bacon).

In addition, to the return of indoor dining, legislators have given the go-ahead for limited catering. How about celebrating the focus on vaccination with themed off-prep catering. Offer to customers a catered Vaccine Party’s at their home. Setup the ground rules so that one is allowed into the hosts home without proof of vaccine.

March means Spring Fever. Listen to the Weather forecast and one day before the weather gets nice, decorate your restaurant with spring plants and flowers all over your establishment.

Don’t forget that you are only as good as your team. So sit down with your team and figure out what you learned from the challenges of the last year (Takeout & Delivery/Outdoor Dining) and how you can adopt them permanently. Continue to rely on your IT specialist to dissect all your previous sales data. The goal is for you and your culinary team to make informed menu decisions.

Bottom line is to stay on top of the rate of vaccine, continue to be the local cheer leader and usher this terrible time away for our beautiful city. Let everyone know you are alive and well and looking forward to welcoming back your guests and team.


Find Chef Murphys’ Recipe for Special Corned Beef Brisket or Beef Round below. Reach out to your local Chefs Warehouse, at the Allen Brothers Meat Department.

Murphy’s CORNED BEEF

Ingredients: For each 10-pound brisket or beef round

  • 1½ gallons water for brine, additional for later simmering
  • 1 to 1¼ pounds kosher salt
  • 5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 3½ ounces celery powder
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon crushed pickling spice

Method:

  1. In a stockpot, combine the water, salt, sugar, and celery powder.
  2. Purée the garlic and pickling spice in a blender with about 1 cup of the brine. Combine the puréed mixture with the brine.
  3. Bring the brine to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. Inject each piece with brine about 16 ounces per piece .
  5. Place the meat in a brining tub or bag and add enough brine to completely submerge it. Keep it completely below the surface. Brine the meat under refrigeration for three days (or longer, if less salt is used).
  6. After brining is complete, thoroughly rinse the meat.
  7. Place it in a stockpot. Add enough water to cover the meat. Simmer for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse again.
  8. Cover again with water and any additional spices for flavoring, if desired. Simmer for three hours, or until tender.
  9. Save cooking liquid for cooking cabbage and potatoes
  10. Remove from the water. If using brisket, split it in half, following the natural separation between the cap and brisket. Trim excess fat, slice, and serve. It may also be cooled, wrapped, and refrigerated for up to two weeks. Reheat by slicing the meat thinly and sautéing

Gerry Murphy is a culinary consultant, inventor, and accomplished professional leader offering 35 years’ experience in Culinary Consulting with expertise in Restaurant Operations, Live Cooking Competitions, Certification Consultations, Budget & Finance Administration, Personnel Management, and Project Management. He can be reached at chefgerard@aol.com.

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