An Irish Feast

Well, today is St. Patrick’s Day and I don’t normally celebrate St. Paddy’s day, but I thought it would be a good excuse to make some corned beef for Sunday Dinner.  As usual, we had quite a menu for our Irish Feast…corned beef brisket, cabbage, crusty artisan loaf bread, Irish Soda Bread, (cause one loaf of bread is never enough) and chocolate stout cake. 

Corned Beef, Cabbage & Potatoes

This year I made a point to plan ahead and started curing my corned beef last week.  I conducted some research on the internet and my collection of cookbooks.  All the recipes are pretty much the same, but I ultimately decided on Alton Brown’s recipe because his called for Juniper Berries, and I just bought a bottle and have been itching to use them.  

Brine Ingredients

Corned Beef

2 quarts water

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons of pink curing salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

8 whole cloves

8 whole allspice berries

12 whole juniper berries

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4-6lb brisket flat, trimmed
Add all of the ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally until the salts and sugar have dissolved.  Allow the brine to cool completely.  Place the brisket in a brining bucket or 2 gallon ziplock and add the brine. Refrigerate for 7-10 days.  When using a ziplock back flip it every other day.

Cooking the Corned Beef
1 small onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 head of cabbage, quarter
8-10 red potatoes, halved
This is the first time I’ve made corned beef and I wanted to cook it in the traditional method, on the stove. I like to cook things right the first time before I start screwing with the recipe.  To cook this hunk of beef, start by removing it from the brine and rinsing thoroughly with cold water.  Place it in a large stock pot and cover the meat with water, then add the onion, celery and carrot.  Now bring the whole thing to a boil, then cover and lower the heat and simmer for 3 hours.  If your pot is big enough, you can add the cabbage and potatoes the last half hour of cooking.  After 3 hours I pulled the brisket from the pot and added the potatoes and cabbage to the broth. While the potatoes cooked, I sliced the brisket and ladled the broth over the meat to keep it moist and infuse it with more flavor.

The Irish Feast Platter

I have to admit, I never was a big fan of corned beef.  Up until now the majority of the corned beef I’ve ever eaten was in a deli sandwich.  Well now I GET IT!  This meal was totally freaking delicious. The brisket was rich with a strong beefy flavor.  The cabbage and potatoes, infused with the flavors of the broth, were the perfect compliment to the beef.  It’s really amazing how some salt and spices can transform a hunk of beef into something so tasty.  Oh, I must apologize, I didn’t receive the pics of the breads or chocolate stout cake by the publishing deadline.  Maybe they will make an appearance in a later post.


2 thoughts on “An Irish Feast

  1. Now I have to make pastrami after seeing everyone's corned beef. It looks excellent. Where did you find the juniper berries? I'm not sure that I have seen those at the grocery.

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