Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
*Waving hi!* Thought I’d repost this from last year for you Corned Beef lovahs. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
After all these years of enjoying Corned Beef several times a year, I finally had the bright idea to actually look up why it was called “corned” beef. I had just assumed either some guy named Mr. Corny came up with the dish and named it after himself or that somehow corn was involved in the brining process, which makes absolutely no sense. I’ve just let that explanation go, there were more important matters that needed my attention than the origins of Corned Beef.
It turns out after a simple search, it’s an easy explanation. The beef brisket used in making Corned Beef is salt and pickle cured and the salt pellets used resemble corn kernals.
Okay, that makes sense. But certainly not as fun as a story about Mr Corny.
We normally associate eating Corned Beef with Cabbage during St. Patrick’s Day, and ironically, the dish isn’t distinctly Irish — it’s more an Irish-American tradition, something we made up to go great with copious amounts of beer.
So I thought it would be fitting to braise this Corned Beef in Guinness Beer, instead of water or the “stuff” that the brisket is magically suspended in inside the package.
The “stuff” is a solution of salt, seasoning and other preservatives that I really don’t care for. It’s also incredibly salty. I always rinse the corned beef well, getting rid of the solution and then pat dry.
For the Corned Beef – you’ll need dark brown sugar, 2 bottles of Guinness, pickling spice (only if it doesn’t come in your corned beef package, onion, garlic and of course the corned beef meat that’s been rinsed very well and then patted dry.
This recipe works well either on the stove, oven or crockpot.
Cut the onion and the garlic in half lengthwise. You’ll just need these halves.
In a large pot, combine the brown sugar and the Guinness.
Add the pickling spice, either that you’ve purchased (recommended) or the packet that comes with the meat.
Add the onion and garlic.
Then slide and snuggle in the beef.
Look at that beer froth!
We’re going to slow cook the Corned Beef in the oven, but first, let’s give it a head start on the stove and bring the beer to a simmer. Keep an eye on this – beer easily bubbles over and it’s a pain to clean. Of course, you could completely skip this route and throw this baby in the slow cooker.
After the liquid begins simmering, we’ll cover and slip it into the oven at 300F for 4-5 hours. Low ‘n slow.
I flip the meat once during the half-way point.
For the vegetables, here’s what you’ll need: cabbage, red potatoes, carrots and *whispers* Mangalitsa Pig Lard!!! Okay, you don’t need Mangalitsa Pig Lard — you could use bacon lardons (a la Michael Ruhlman, which I’ve borrowed his technique for the cabbage). But if either option just seems over the top, regular ol’ cooking oil will do just fine.
Why not throw the vegetable in with the corned beef? Well, two very good reasons:
1) The vegetables really don’t need that long to cook – I want my carrots to taste like carrots, not overcooked corned beef sauce.
2) Vegetables cooked with the meat always end up looking all brown and sad. I want my carrots to look like carrots!
Cooking them separately allows me to cook the vegetables perfectly. I add in some of the corned beef sauce to flavor the vegetables – just enough for nice flavor.
Just to humor you, here’s a closeup of this beautiful Mangalitsa Pig Lard. The Mangalitsa is prized not necessarily for its meat, but for it’s fat and well marbled meat! These pigs are some chunky chunky monkeys but produce the lightest, cleanest fat. Pastry chefs will tell you that Mangalitsa Lard makes the most amazing pie crust. But I digress…..
Wait, I’m not done digressing….
If the closeup isn’t enough, here’s a four-pound tub of it that my friend, Tim Mar of Chef Shop in Seattle sent over to me. *waving thanks tim!*
Back to the veg. Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges, the potatoes and carrots into 3/4-inch chunks.
You’ll brown the cabbage wedges on each side in either the lard, bacon drippings or cooking oil. Medium heat, just a few minutes per side.
Then flip to brown the other side.
Next add the potatoes and the carrots.
Pour in 2 cups of the Corned Beef cooking liquid into the pot. The liquid is incredibly flavorful and will do wonders for the vegetables. I promise you, this is way better than just boiling cabbage in water!
Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the cabbage (it should be done by now) and leave the carrots and potatoes to cook for another 5-7 minutes, until they are cooked through. You can check by piercing with a paring knife or fork.
The last step is to sprinkle with freshly minced parsley.
Slice the corned beef and serve with the vegetables. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the meat.
Guinness Corned Beef with Cabbage Recipe
Normally, brisket for corned beef is packaged suspended in some kind of brine and may come with a small pickling spice already. You want to make sure you rinse the brisket well, removing the thick brine. Pat very dry. You can use the small seasoning pickling spice in the package, but I prefer to use my own spices.
Ingredients:For the Corned Beef
2 bottles Guinness beer (or other dark beer)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 1/2 pound uncooked brisket for corned beef, rinsed well and patted dry
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 head garlic, halvedFor the Vegetables
1 head cabbage
1 big spoonful of lard or bacon drippings (you can substitute simply with just cooking oil)
a few carrots, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pound of red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 tablespoons freshly minced fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 300F. In a large pot, whisk together the beer and the brown sugar. Snuggle in the brisket, it should almost be completely covered by the beer (see photo). Add the pickling spice, onion and the garlic. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, uncovered is best so you can keep an eye on it. Boiled-over beer is no fun to clean.
2. Once it begins simmering, cover the pot and place in oven to roast for 4-6 hours, flipping meat once during halfway point. Remove from oven. Spoon out 2 cups of the corned beef braising liquid to cook the cabbage.
3. To make the vegetables, cut the cabbage into 8 wedges. In a separate large, wide pot, heat up the lard/bacon drippings/oil on medium-high heat. When hot, swirl the pan around to get the fat to evenly coat the pan. Add the cabbage wedges, carrots and potatoes and cook until browned, about a 3-4 minutes. Turn to brown the other side. Pour in the reserved corned beef cooking liquid, bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Turn the heat to low and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Use tongs or a large spoon to carefully remove the cabbage and reserve. Continue cooking the carrots and potato another 5 minutes or cooked though (pierce with fork to check doneness). Sprinkle with parsley and plate out with the cabbage.
4. Slice up the corned beef and serve with the cabbage and vegetables. Pour a bit of the sauce over the corned beef just before serving.