Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day early this year so that I'd be able to post this early enough to inspire you to make it this March 17th (Tuesday).
Corned beef and cabbage, though it is not among the most aesthetically pleasing meals on the planet, is one of the tastiest and easiest to make. Next year I'll corn my own beef, this year I let the folks at Kroger do it for me.
First the history and background, then the recipe.
As it turns out, the Irish origins of this meal are questionable at best. It seems to have become popular among Irish immigrants looking for a less expensive alternative to bacon.
Where's the corn? That's what my son wanted to know when I served him a bowl yesterday.
The corned part actually refers to coarse kernels of salt, sometimes referred to as corns, used to prepare the beef. A beef brisket is covered in lots of salt and some water, along with some herbs and spices, then allowed to cure for 2 or 3 weeks. the salt preserves the meat, which isn't that important nowadays thanks to our Whirlpool, but was very important before the advent of refrigeration.
Here's how it's done:
Buy yourself a corned beef brisket
Open it and place it, along with the juices inside the package in a large pot.
They usually come with a little seasoning packet which generally includes mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allsoice, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Open this packet and throw the contents into the pot too.
Put in enough water to cover the beef, put it on the stove and bring it up to boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Let it simmer for three hours or more until it becomes tender enough to easily pierce it with a fork.
At this point, you could definitely eat it as it is, but I like to throw it in the oven while the veggies are cooking to get it a little crispy on the outside.
Pull the beef out of the liquid and throw it on a pan then into a 300 degree oven.
While it's in there, throw some peeled potatoes and carrots into the liquid and let them cook until they're soft (I actually like to strain the liquid first to get all the chunks out). Once they're cooked, pull them out (saving the liquid) and throw them onto the pan and into the oven with the beef to keep them warm while you cook the cabbage.
To cook the cabbage, cut a head into 4, 6, or 8 pieces, leaving the core intact (it will hold the leaves together while it cooks. Cook it in the same liquid until it's soft (about 10 minutes).
Pull everything out of the oven and slice the beef. Here's the important part: make sure to slice it ACROSS the grain. That means perpendicular to the lines running through the meat.
Throw everything onto a giant platter and serve it with some coarse ground mustard, some butter, and maybe some sour cream (that was a new addition this year thanks to Anne).
Seriously, it's so easy and an non-negotiable part of any serious St. Patty's Day celebration.
You can't go wrong as long as you cook it for a long time and slice it across the grain.
Have fun!


danielle said...

Yum...I love corned beef and cabbage. My mom always made it when we were growing up. So your house doesn't smell great while its cooking...small price to pay for salty fatty meaty goodness. We throw the whole thing in the crockpot...meat potatoes cabbage. although I like the idea of letting the outside get crispy in the oven, but I am far too lazy.

Anne...good call with the sour cream. Amazingly this is one dinner item that I have not tried sour cream with.

Allison said...

Thank you for the recipe! I bought a corned beef for the first time this year and then you posted your recipe! I lurk here often...sorry for never commenting before now!

Question: You begin by covering the meat in water, as i comes to a boil you reduce to simmer. If the water level drops below the height of the meat, should I add more or not?

Thanks for your help! Happy St. Patty's!

Allison said...

I forgot to check the "Email follow-up comments" so that I'll know if you respond!



Taylor said...

It may be too late, but yeah, go ahead and add more water if you need to.

Allison said...

Thanks, it turned out fantastic! I was also confused about weather or not to cover the pot (you can tell I don't cook much!), but I ended up covering it, which I think was correct. In any case, my family and I loved it. Thanks again!

Nadia and Jeremy said...

i brined my own corned beef this year. i used the alton brown recipe on, but martha stewart also had a recipe in the last magazine. it was a lot of fun, but took up a lot of space in my already too small fridge. and instead of boiling the potatoes like i usually do, on there was a great recipe called "champ" infuse warm milk with green onions and add it to mashed potatoes. it was really tasty. i also had wheat soda bread (also on epicurious) and my friend brought some guiness bread, which was delicious.

i have your family to thank for my introduction to corned beef and cabbage. the first time i ever had it was with rebecca and marcus when we lived up in rochester with them.

happy st. patrick's day!

Digital Darkroom said...

Taylor we need to get together have have a guys cooking night, You know I love to cook. You know how to get a hold of me even though you don;t see me 6 days a week now.

Joan said...

My mom made corned beef growing up and it is one of my favs! I have yet to make it (as a wife/mom) but now you've inspired me. Next time it's on sale or a good price I'm a buyin' it!

Drew Galvin said...

How about some more recipes??!

Melvina said...

I haven't had good food since I've been here. just kidding, but it sure doesn't look the same as yours

Melvina said...

I love you guys and miss you

cristie said...

definitely time for a new entry! xox