Mary Anne here. In general, I prefer to prepare most meals from scratch and that includes brining a fresh piece of brisket for homemade Corned Beef. But alas, my day job is interfering with my true love, our little blog, and I simply didn’t have the four days required for brining the beef. Thankfully, my local grocer (not that greedy butcher of Osso Bucco fame!) had a fantastic stock of thin cut, ready-to-boil Corned Beef Brisket. Next year, I vow to deliver the entire goods and share my recipe for brining the St. Patty’s Day brisket beast, but until then here’s the next best thing!
And speaking of the Patron Saint of the Old Country, an Eire-born patient of mine recently told me that when she was a wee young girl, her mom prepared the corned beef by first placing it in an unseasoned pot of water and bringing it to a boil. After allowing it to boil for about five minutes, she drained off the hot water, wiped out the foamy scum and then poured fresh water over the meat, adding whatever herbs, vegetables and seasonings she had on hand. Reportedly this lass from the land of the shamrocks thought that the initial boil reduced the amount of sodium in the final product. I was game to try it, and one thing’s for sure, I didn’t have to fuss with skimming off foam throughout the three-hour boiling process – that all went down the drain with the initial boiling! Well worth the extra step.
Serve this festive feast with our Irish Soda Bread, and even if you aren’t in the habit of celebrating Patron Saint days, March 19th belongs to St. Joseph and that means Zeppoli (a.k.a Cream Puffs) for dessert! Whether a Catholic or not, no harm in saluting these fine fellows with a meal that’s fit for even the most persnickety king. No matter how you choose to slice it, have a very merry St. Patrick’s Day and may the luck ‘o the Irish be with you!
Corned Beef and Cabbage with a Boozy Peach Glaze (a.k.a New England Boiled Dinner)
Serves 6 with leftovers
Note: This is yet another dinner that keeps on giving. Use our Turkey Hash recipe and simply sub in the leftover beef. Corned Beef Hash is terrific for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Bouquet Garni: You will need cheesecloth and kitchen twine for this. The cheesecloth can be found in the baking section of your local market. Spread a double layer of the cloth out on the countertop. Cut a piece long enough to accommodate the parsley and seasonings. Place all of the ingredients in the center of the cloth and gather up the sides, creating a “purse.” Tie a piece of twine around the top and secure it with a knot.
Tips: Pierce the cabbage wedges with a toothpick on each side to keep each wedge from falling apart during the cooking process. I split the leeks lengthwise, but not all the way through. This allows for thoroughly rinsing away the sand and dirt between the leaves, while keeping the leek intact for boiling.
For the glaze, if you don’t have any “brown” booze on hand, sub in ½ cup of water and amp up the mustard by a ½ Tablespoon.
Serve the Corned Beef and Cabbage with Dijon-style mustard and/or horseradish cream as well as a gravy boat filled with some of the hot cooking broth. Horseradish cream can be as simple as mayonnaise and drained horseradish – about ¼ cup horseradish to 1¼ cups mayonnaise. Dress it up with some diced dill pickles or even whip some heavy cream and fold it into the mix. I prepare it according to my taste and it’s actually a lot like making your own cocktail sauce for shrimp in terms of how much heat you like.
1 – 4 lb Corned Beef, thin cut – $11.87
2 bottles Black and Tan beer or Stout – $2.16
3 carrots, peeled – $1.49
3 ribs celery, washed – 1.99
1 whole onion, peeled – $0.79
4-5 sprigs Italian, flat-leaf parsley – $1.69
3 whole cloves – stock
2 Bay leaves – stock
1 whole allspice (or a generous pinch of ground allspice, in the actual broth) – stock
10 whole peppercorns – stock
1½ Teaspoons mustard seeds – $2.99
The boiled vegetables:
1 head green cabbage, cored and cut into 6 wedges – $0.86
½ lb. leeks, well rinsed and using the white parts along with about 1 ½ inches of the tender green stem – $1.99
6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch slices: included above
1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1½ inch slices: $0.90
6 medium-size Yukon Gold or Red Bliss potatoes, unpeeled and cut in ½ – $2.07
The boozy glaze:
12-oz jar peach preserves – $1.99
½ cup “brown “ booze (whatever you have on hand – rye, whiskey, bourbon. I used brandy as that’s what was in the pantry!) – stock
¼ teaspoon ground ginger – stock
1½ Tablespoons Dijon-style mustard – stock.
Grand total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $30.79
Total Per Serving: $5.13
1. In a large, wide stockpot, cover the beef with water and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, drain the water from the beef and wipe out the inside of the pot with a paper towel.
2. Return the beef to the same pot. Add the beer and enough water to cover the meat by about 1-inch. Add the first group of vegetables and the Bouquet Garni. Bring to a boil, reduce the flame and simmer, covered for approximately 3 hours or until a filet knife is easily inserted in the middle. For even cooking, it is important to turn the corned beef every 30 minutes during the boiling process.
3. Meanwhile, cut up the cabbage, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, leeks or any combination of root veggies you fancy. Set aside.
4. Prepare the glaze. Using a medium size saucepan, combine the peach preserves, “brown’ booze, and ginger. Bring to a boil and continue boiling, stirring frequently, until the mixture is reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in the mustard.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and lightly oil or spray “Pam” on the foil.
6. Gently reheat the glaze.
7. Remove the corned beef from the pot and transfer to a platter. Remove the fat from the top of the beef and pat the meat dry with paper towels. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. (Save the cooking broth.) Using paper towels, pat the meat dry. Apply a generous coat of glaze, using a pastry brush or spoon. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the corned beef is golden.
8. Meanwhile, remove the vegetables from the boiling broth. Skim off the fat and add the prepared potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and leeks to the cooking broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a medium flame and simmer the vegetables until all are fork-tender, about 25-30 minutes.
9. Slice the corned beef against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Arrange on a large platter, surrounded by the boiled vegetables. Drizzle some of the hot broth over the veggies. Serve with mustard and/or horseradish cream and pass the hot broth as a “gravy.”