embarassed about Corned Beef
I am a pseudo-vegetarian who doesn't eat red meat, and in honor of St. Pat's, a few guys from work are coming over for dinner, and I told them I'd made Corned Beef and Cabbage. And to make it worse, they're from South Boston which is practically the Irish capital of the USA!
I have NO idea what to buy (ie, what cut/type of meat). And NO idea how to cook it.
I got the cabbage and potatoes down, but I am scared of embarrasing myself with the Corned Beef ! Help!
The cut of meat is usually a point-cut or flat-cut brisket that has been brined or cured with salt and spices. Since you don't have time to corn your own beef, you can just look for something labelled Corned Beef in the meat department of any grocery store. If you can find one without preservatives (it will be gray rather than that scary red), that might be a nice surprise for people from New England. On the West Coast, I've found that natural food stores are the best places to find preservative-free corned beef.
I just made my first corned beef last month. I found that it was much easier to cook the meat, and then hold it in a low oven with a few cups of liquid poured over it while I cooked the vegetables. Just easier to keep track of everything (and fit it in the pot) that way. So, put your corned beef into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a low simmer and cook covered for 2 - 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender. If it's left uncovered, the broth can get too concentrated. Either add vegetables in towards the end or remove meat and cook the vegetables in the broth. I like to have carrots and pearl onions in addition to the cabbage and potatoes.
Corned beef hash made from leftover boiled dinner is one of my favorite things ever. That's most of the reason I cook corned beef. If your friends do not cook much, you could chop up the leftovers for them (dice the meat pretty fine, other stuff can be a bit coarser) and send them home with "Hash Kits" that can just be dumped in a pan and fried.
The American Classics cookbook from the Cook's Illustrated people has great instructions for both corned beef and hash. If you can find a copy, it will have more details that I've given here. Good luck!
What Candy said is right - you can't screw this up, as long as you cook it long and low and don't take the name "boiled dinner" literally.
And don't worry about the boys from Southie. A lot of Irish mothers are terrible cooks. (Good bakers, but terrible cooks). You'll be fine.
I have just usually simmered it in water to cover with some pepper corns until it is tender and then add carrots, cabbage, an onion and some potatoes. I like TomSwift's suggestion to make it tonight and to use a bottle of Guiness along with some vegetables for seasoning and then adding fresh veg tomorrow. His message in just a few down the page.
Am I the only person who, after the corned beef is cooked, and while it "rests" before carving, puts it on a platter with a weight on it (say another platter with a heavy can on top) for a bit.
I find it makes for nicer slices....
I don't know where I got the idea from - I must have read it somewhere.
Anyone else do this?