117. Prepare a St. Pat’s Day Feast Like Chef Kelly Donlea

3 mins read

You’re never going to believe this! Barrington mom, local chef and cookbook author, Kelly Donlea, is sharing her top secret family recipe for Glazed Corned Beef this St. Paddy’s day. If you’re planning an Irish feast at home this weekend, you should try this Barrington-version of a traditional corned beef brisket. This recipe is so special, it has been passed down for generations. Kelly says the secret is in the glaze and she’s revealing the key ingredients with our very first “Barrington Eats” food feature right here at 365Barrington.com.

Here’s Kelly’s scoop on her family’s corned beef classic:


“My husband’s Grandmother, Elizabeth Donlea, was the wife of Frank Donlea who grew up on Donlea Road in Barrington Hills. “Liz” lived, bowled and socialized in Barrington for the better part of her 93 years. She passed away in 2003, but left several great legacies to my family, the two most notable being my daughters’ beautiful red hair, and her recipe for Glazed Corned Beef.

Elizabeth Donlea with Grandchildren, Brian and Sidney

Grandma Donlea’s Glazed Corned Beef with Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots and Onions

5 pounds corned beef brisket
3 pounds small red potatoes
1 head cabbage, cored and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 small bag baby carrots
Butter and salt

Add corned beef to large pot and cover with water. Include any seasoning packets that may have come with your beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; maintain at a simmer (not boiling) for 3 hours. Prepare glaze (see below). Remove beef from water and place in a baking dish, fat side down.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Baste the top of the beef with half of your glaze; bake 35 minutes.

While the beef cooks, add potatoes to a large pot, and cover with water. Boil for 15 minutes or until just fork tender. Remove from water, and season with butter and salt, to taste.

Bring another large pot three-quarters of the way full with water to boil. Blanche cabbage and onion in boiling water for about 5 minutes. This will provide soft but firm cabbage. You can boil cabbage and onions longer if you prefer them softer. Top cabbage with salt and or butter as desired.

Serve beef with potatoes and cabbage and remaining glaze.

Corned Beef Glaze

Grandma Donlea’s glaze included brown sugar as the sweetening ingredient.

I usually use Apricot Jam for a slightly less sugary and more elegant taste. Both are delicious in creating a perfectly topped corned beef.

4 tablespoons brown sugar OR 5 tablespoons apricot preserves
4 tablespoons horseradish-style or spicy mustard (our favorite is Coleman’s)
1 tablespoon water
Combine all ingredients. Stir and chill.

If you’d like to try a few more dishes to accompany your Irish feast, check out my recipes for St. Patrick’s Day Appetizers including Reuben Pizza and Reuben Sliders on my website at Organizing Dinner.com.

And if cooking your own corned beef isn’t on your menu, there are many places around town where you can get your fix.

McGonigals Pub

Enjoy corned beef and cabbage at downtown McGonigals Pub this weekend, either inside the pub, our in the Celtic Fest tent located just outside the pub and sponsored by several local merchants. For full event details, visit McGonigalsPub.com.

Clarke’s Bakery & Deli

Stop by Clarke’s Bakery on Route 14 to dine on or take home corned beef dinner with cabbage, potatoes carrots and homemade soda bread or a corned beef sandwich on traditional brown bread. Don’t worry if there’s a long line, the Irish music, and karaoke are sure to entertain you and give you your fill of Irish spirit while you wait.  Click HERE to learn more about the Clarke family or stop by to see them at 455 Northwest Highway in Barrington.”


About the Author
Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people.  She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store.  Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility.  To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com.  Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our new, local and regular food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!


  1. i have been looking for the perfect recipe for my corned beef this year. Knowing that Kelly is the best cook, I will be trying this out tomorrow. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m starving!

  2. Sweet and savory, my favorite. Now I know how I am going to make my brisket tomorrow. Thanks Kelly and 365 … Great feature. Love the concept.

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