Happy St.Patrick’s Day everyone!
Until a few years ago I was only familiar with canned corned beef. I thought that was what corned beef was – salted beef, often with potatoes in a can. I would fry it in a saute pan trying to achieve some crust, which seemed impossible at time due to the amount of liquid that was within the meat. Quite a delicious breakfast still with eggs and toast. But then I found my way to other forms…
When I was studying in England a few years ago our local market stocked sliced corned beef in their deli aisle and I would buy a pack to broil onto a toast with hot English mustard and thinly sliced onion. It was flavorful, quick and very delicious. I ate this quite often and it was even more delicious after being out all night throwing down pints. And more recently, at a breakfast spot in San Luis Obispo I had real corned beef. Cut from a whole brisket, grilled to a nice brown, and well-seasoned crumble that complemented my potatoes so happily. I have always been a corned beef lover – canned, sliced or real.
But to make my own? That seemed pretty far fetched. But once I started looking up recipes I realized all I had to do was brine a piece of meat then braise it. Simple as that! Most of the work gets done while I’m actually away from the kitchen. I had just been building up in my head some complicated process of some sort and imaging myself being a slave my kitchen. But on the contrary, it was exactly the opposite.
I picked up a 4lb brisket at Huntington Meats and brined it for 2 days using Tyler Florence’s recipe, leaving out the coriander and marjoram for no reason other than that I was not aware that I was out of coriander seeds and that my produce market does not carry marjoram. I would have brined the meat longer but making the corned beef for St. Patty’s day was sort of a last minute decision.
After the brining I switched over to Suzanne Goin’s method which calls for the brisket and vegetables to be cooked in separate steps. I braised the brisket with an onion and some garlic cloves for three hours in an 325 degree oven. When the meat was tender, cooked and ready, I placed it in the oven fat-side up to brown nicely on the outstide and to crisp up the layer of fat. Meanwhile I boiled cabbage, carrots, turnips, and parsnips in the beef broth.
A last minute addition to the meal was the Barefoot Contessa’s chive biscuits. I was wishy washy on whether to make scones or biscuits. And then decided not to make either. Then last minutes decided I must have biscuits! There is never a bad time for biscuits, is there? I cut them out pretty small so we wouldn’t stuff ourselves too silly considering we had a lot of meats and vegetables to consume. A warm biscuit always makes me feel better.
As a condiment to the meat I made Suzanne Goin’s Parsley-Mustard sauce which consisted of shallots, red wine vinegar, parsley, mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. It was the perfect sauce of acid, herbs and sharp mustard to complement the juicy meat. I used Inglehoffer horseradish mustard which was nice and spicy.
A few pints of Guiness and belly full of corned beef and vegetables made a pretty delicious St. Patrick’s Day.