Who's Cooking: Patricia Doyle of Westbury

Patricia Doyle prepares a traditional Irish meal of Patricia Doyle prepares a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and potatoes in her Westbury kitchen. (Feb. 24, 2010) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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The mother of six grown children and recently widowed, she lives in Westbury and works as a social worker at North Shore / LIJ Health Care System.

When did you start cooking? My mother - a single mother - worked and had little time for everyday meals. She would make something like chicken fricassee, and we'd get a couple of meals out of that. I started to experiment with cooking when I was about 11. I started with Italian spaghetti sauce because Irishmen didn't know the recipe, so I was free to try things out. When I was growing up in Brooklyn, we lived over a store; the front apartment was a music school. There were two teachers, one of whom was Italian. So I asked him for a recipe for meatballs and spaghetti - I thought that was really exotic.

How would you characterize your adult style of cooking? After marriage and six children - four of them boys - our meals had to be "hale and hearty" and mostly "easy and economical." 

Have any of your children become interested in cooking? My son Sean - he's a great cook. He cooks every day for his kids. 

Is there one style of cooking you really like? I've gone to basic, plain things - I used to make my own soups. I like making quiche . . . macaroni and cheese with a green salad . . . chicken.

Are there any restaurants you particularly like? Fiore's in Floral Park

How did this recipe come about? The Doyle family celebrates almost all holidays, especially St. Patrick's Day, and corned beef and cabbage is a given, with Irish soda bread in honor of my mother, who came here from Ireland in the 1920s. 

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

50- to 6-pound middle-cut corned beef brisket and spice packet provided with the meat

2 whole carrots

6 medium potatoes, peeled

1 large head cabbage, cut into quarters

½ pint heavy cream

3 to 4 tablespoons fresh horseradish, chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Parsley

1. Place corned beef in cold water to cover. Add contents of spice package and carrots. Raise heat and simmer until meat is fork tender, about two hours.

2. Add potatoes, and continue to cook for half an hour.

3. Add cabbage and cook until soft (about 20 minutes to half an hour).

4. Make the sauce: Whip heavy cream until stiff, then fold in fresh horseradish. Add lemon juice to taste. Scoop into a bowl and scatter parsley lightly over the top.

Makes 4 servings.

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