corned beef and cabbage
Not on top of the stove but in the oven..I did three in a roasting pan yesterday at 325 in the oven for about 4 1/2 hours. Marinated in brown sugar and mustard, into the pan,3 bags of pickling spices wrapped in cheese cloth, onions, celery, 5 garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, and 2 dried chili peppers (cracked pepper and salt) a little water, and cover. Every so often I baste the briskets with more of the mustard & sugar.(once the veggies are done quick broil for a crust of mustard, brown sugar and garlic powder)
When I add the potatoes and carrots, I turn the heat up to 350, once they are cooked (about 35 minutes for red potatoes cut in half) I removed them. Then I added the cabbage, two heads, submerge them in the juice (I add the brine and juices from the meat, once a long time ago, someone suggested I do that) and they absorbed the flavors nicely. All three, Harris Ranch flat cut, were excellent. I think low and slow. They were tender, and good flavor.
But now, I'm over it, until next year!
I was seduced by a lovely looking Niman Ranch corned beef round cut from Trader Joe's. I came home to read up on recipes and discovered the info about gray versus nitrate infused versions. Oh well...
Anyway- so I cooked it last night. Instructions were to put the entire contents (no rinsing) into a pot with water to cover. I substituted one bottle of stout for some of the water. Simmered for 3.5 hours. The meat was really surprisingly tender and tasty. What I didn't love as much was the way the broth tasted, as well as cabbage, potatoes and carrots tasted that were also cooked in it during the last half hour. I was disappointed about this because the last time I had this meal (a few years ago now), what I loved about it was the way the cooking broth had flavored the cabbage. Or at least I assumed it was the cooking broth... I remember it tasty less briny, more rich beef-brothy...
Trying to learn for next time. If I had rinsed the brine and seasoning off the meat, before immersing it in the water and stout, would this have made the difference? Or perhaps I could simply simmer the potatoes and cabbage separate in a beef stock spiced in a complementary way?
Thanks in advance for your advice!
I make my boiled dinner using smoked shoulder instead of corn beef... the best part of my boiled dinner is the next day when I make homemade hash with the left over smoked shoulder and potatoes and add some raw onions. This is the real reason I make boiled dinners-to get some great tasting hash... If you haven't tried smoked shoulder hash- you are missing out on a delightful treat.
As for tradition: The traditional Irish corned meat was pork, but when Irish immigrants came to New York City, they learned how to cook corned beef from the Jews. Beef in New York City was cheaper than pork, and also the kosher butchers provided beef that was clean and safe. Don't forget that pork was often brought in from slaughtering plants in Chicago (NOT nice places), so it wasn't as fresh, and also that this was well before routine inspection of animals, farms, meat processing plants, butcher shops, etc. Over time, more people used corned beef instead of pork, and now, it's the "tradition."
If you are lucky to live in New England, you may well be able to find good gray corned-beef in your local market. Not the ubiquitous nitrated red stuff, which is OK, but the gray stuff is better and beefier in flavor, with a slightly better texture.
If so, go for the gray.
Corning your own beef without saltpeter over the course of one week is actually not difficult.
I make corned beef and cabbage in my pressure cooker:
Youll need a five-quart (or larger) pressure cooker. Duromatic Kuhn Rikon is the front runner among safe-if-used-as-directed pressure cookers, well worth seeking out (Broadway Panhandlers carries them). While not exactly cheap, this cooker will last you a lifetime or two.
Youll also need a good 4-5 pound thick-cut slab of corned beef for 4-6 servings. Remember, the meat will shrink considerably, sometimes by over half. And besides, supermarkets have corned beef on sale this time of year, some for as little as .99 a pound.
Without a pressure cooker, it takes at least 4 hours to bring corned brisket to its voluptuously tender best. With this recipe, youll have dinner on the table in 90 minutes.
1 corned beef brisket, 4-5 pounds, rinsed
1 cup dry white French vermouth
3-4 cups water (nearly to cover)
1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and studded with 6 whole cloves
2 ribs of celery with leaves, cut into thirds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 bouquet garni
(a combination of tarragon, thyme, bay leaf, and parsley,
wrapped in two layers of cheesecloth and tied securely)
1 medium-small head of cleaned green cabbage, 2 1/2 -3 lbs.,
cored (but not too aggressivelyleave enough to maintain shape)
cut into 6 wedges
12 small (bite-sized) new potatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 head celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2 dice
Place corned beef in a 5-quart (or larger) pressure cooker. Add vermouth and water and bring to the boil over high heat, skimming foam from the surface for a few minutes.
Add onion, celery, peppercorns, allspice berries, dried ginger, and bouquet garni. Close the pressure cooker and bring pressure to high (15 pounds of pressurethe second red ring on a Duromatic Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker). Adjust heat to keep the pressure high, and cook for 1 hour.
Remove from heat and use quick-release method to open the cooker. Remove meat and vegetables from the cooker. Set aside and keep well covered. Add cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and celery root to the cooker. Remove liquid if the cooker is more than two-thirds full. Close the lid and again bring the pressure to high. Stabilize the high pressure, and cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and use quick-release method to open the cooker.
Cut the beef across the grain into very thin slices. Serve with the vegetables, all dribbled with the broth. Horseradish cream would be welcome (freshly grated horseradish stirred with heavy cream orbettercrème fraîche to desired consistency), as would Irish soda bread.
I made a corned beef dinner just this past weekend as my kids were in town from college and wanted the annual St. Pat's meal early. I purchased 8 lbs. of Broyle's flat end cut corned beef and that fed 6 adults with some leftover for another meal to serve 3 of us. I'd probably go with 10 lbs. to be safe.
I have read that corned beef and cabbage is of New England orgin, and is called, "Boiled New England Dinner" or "New England Boiled Dinner"
My "trick" is from Narsai David a San Francisco Based media chef. After cooking (boiling) the corned beef, slice the fat to an acceptable thickness (esp if using brisket) and spread a combo of mustard and brown sugar over one side. Put the brisket under the broiler and cook until the spread has melted.