Sunday, March 16, 2014

Corned Beef and Cabbage

It's not really Irish (most probably Eastern European) but corned beef and cabbage has become a tradition here in the U.S. for St. Patrick's Day. And like a bunch of others I almost always fix a batch.

I actually braise my corned beef in a large Dutch oven with aromatic vegetables and cook wedges of cabbage in the same pot after the beef is about 2/3's of the way done. I fix some nice root vegetable separately then marry it all together in one big bowl. It takes a few hours but it isn't very difficult.

For the corned beef:
Ideally you should corn your own brisket but I usually just buy a small (4-5#) chuck in one of the plastic bags. In a Dutch oven layer the bottom with 4 or so roughly chopped carrots, 4 or 5 roughly chopped ribs of celery, one medium onion coarsely chopped a few peeled cloves of garlic, a few bay leaves and a dozwn or so whole black peppercorns. On top of this bed of veges place your rinsed brisket, fat side up, and just barely cover with water. Bring to a simmer, cover and then place in a 300F oven for two hours. Cut a small head of green cabbage into 6 or 8 wedges and place these on top of the brisket and cover and cook in the oven for another hour or so. There is some argument over how long to cook the cabbage and beef together. Some say the cabbage and beef cook together for the whole 3 hours but I like a little texture to the greens so I only cook it for the last hour. Your choice.

Separately I cook some root veges to serve with the corned beef and cabbage as the ones in the Dutch oven are dead after 3 hours.

A pound of new potatoes, a pound of carrots, a pound of turnips and a pound of parsnips is a nice combination. Just prep them (peel and chunk) and put them in a big pot and either steam them for a half hour or so or roast them in a 400F oven for about 40 minutes to an hour. Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and pepper over them before roasting.

A nice addition is to make an herbed butter to serve over the whole enchilada. Fresh parsley and thyme or whatever finely chopped and well blended with some softened butter.

When the brisket and cabbage are done. Carefully remove the cabbage wedges to a bowl and cover with foil. Put them in a warm oven. Remove the brisket to a platter and cover it with foil as well as it is going to need to roast for about a half hour. Don't throw the cooking away as you'll need some of it. When rested slice it thinly against the grain.

Serve the beef and cabbage along with some of the veges in large bowls with some of the cooking liquid from the brisket.

You should be able to serve 6 with this and maybe 8.


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