Thursday, March 17, 2016

Corned Beef and Cabbage




Sláinte--and Happy St Paddy's Day.  I've always enjoyed this holiday, perhaps for no other reason than its association with drinking and good times, perhaps even more so than New Year's Eve.  (Sorry, NYE--the Irish got ya beat)

Well, I've been enjoying a drink on St Pats since I've been old enough too, which is quite a while, but believe it or not, I've never gotten around to trying the traditional dish of St Pats, here in America at least--Corned Beef and Cabbage.  

If this dish sounds a little swarthy to you, well--I can assure you after trying it that it is better than it sounds  (the aroma may not be, however, but you can get past that, I know you can)

Anyhoo, I researched this one, and found a variety of ways to cook this dish, but boiling seemed to be the way to go.  

Now, normally, the thought of boiling meat, unless I'm making soup, makes me cringe.  This is a sure fire way to leach flavor out of your meat.  However, in the case of corned beef, you actually want to do a little leaching, due to the fact that corned beef has been preserved in a brine of salt and sodium nitrite.  This was an old school preservation method that survives because its traditional and people like the flavor.  But if you were to just cook the corned meat like a roast it would be tough and incredibly salty.  The boiling does two things, it tenderizes the meat, and pulls out that salt.

Of course, if you keep boiling in the same water, a lot of the salt will get into your veggies, oversalting thing.  That's why we're gonna boil for a bit, dump the water, then add fresh and continue to boil.  This will get rid of a lot of the salt, but there will still be enough around to flavor your taters, carrots and cabbage.  So, without further ado, let's do this thing:

Ingredients

3 Pound Uncooked Corned Beef Brisket
3 Russet Potatoes
12 Oz Carrots
1 Cabbage
Spice Packet (optional)

Place the corned beef in a large pot.  

Cover with water to 1 inch over beef

Boil corned beef for 30 minutes.  At this time you will notice white foam forming on top of the water.

This is salt and sodium nitrite leaching out of the beef.   Carefully lift the beef out of the water and set aside on a platter or cutting board.  

Dump the water you just used (be careful--it's hot.  I usually add some cold water to it to cool it down before I pour it down the sink, so as not to shock my old cast iron pipes)

Add fresh water.  Note, the beef may be covered in leached salt, as seen here:

so if you want, rinse it off before returning it to the fresh water.  Bring meat to a boil again.  

Boil for an additional 2 hours

Meanwhile peel your potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise.  Cut these halves into little half-inch thick crescents.  

Cut up your carrots into two inch pieces, or just use precut carrots.  

After the two hour boil, add potatoes and carrots, boil for 30 more minutes

Cut your cabbage in half.  Cut these halves into thirds.  


Add the cabbage wedges, gently, to the pot, on top of the beef and veggies.  Boil for 20 more minutes.  

Remove everything and plate it up and serve.  


Slice the corned beef against the grain, or just pull it apart in chunks and serve, it should be tender.  

Until next time, 


Chris


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