In honor of St. Patrick's Day, folks on yesterday's open thread chatted about how to make corned beef. Several suggestions rolled in:
• Faith pointed our attention to Slashfood's "Corned Beef and Cabbage: Do you do it, and how?"
• DrewB gave us his mom's technique: "Remove it from the bag, wash off the brine, soak in two or three changes of cold water overnight. The next day bring a big pot of water to a boil, add the brisket and boil/simmer until fork tender and pulling apart. Before it's done, quarter up some potatoes, carrots and slice cabbage and add to the pot and cook as a unit. Pull out of the brine, rest and slice."
• Paul, having lived in Ireland, told us "The Irish have a dish called bacon & cabbage, not corned beef (which seems to be more "Irish-American," cooked/simmered in a kind of brine, by my ma at least, along with the cabbage, carrots, potatoes and whatever else... coriander maybe?) & cabbage... but it's not bacon the way we are accustomed to... this pork resembles the dish we are used to. Probably an analogous cut of pork, prepared in an analogous way... and yes, stew, or lamb or shepherd's pie would be more 'Irish.'"
• minipanda gave us a step-by-step technique (see after the jump)
Minipanda's Corned Beef Technique
-Purchase a corned beef brisket (some come w/ spice packets included), a head of cabbage, potatoes and carrots (full size work better here than the little baby ones).
-Rinse the beef brisket and place in a slow cooker or heavy bottom pot. Pour in one bottle of beer (your choice, I like using Bass). Pour in water to just shy of covering the brisket. Cook on low for 6 hours if using a slow cooker or alternatively bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours in a pot.
-In a separate large pot, bring water to a boil. Salt water generously, add carrots and potatoes, and cook until tender. This can be done in advance and reheated prior to serving.
-When corned beef has completed cooking, remove from slow cooker or pot and place on baking sheet (pre-heat oven to 300 degrees), leaving cooking liquid. Cut head of cabbage through the base into quarters (leave base intact so that the leaves remain connected). If a large head, cut quarters again in half. Place cabbage in corned beef cooking liquid and cook until tender (20 min.?).
-Prepare a mustard "glaze" of brown sugar, water (or more beer), and a good mustard of your choice by mixing the three ingredients together in a small bowl. Apply glaze to brisket, place a cooking brick or heavy oven-safe dish on top of brisket and cook in oven for 20 min.
-Remove brisket from oven, allow to rest for 10 min. then slice across the grain. Plate with cabbage, carrots and potatoes.
I can't remember exactly where I got this method from (with the glaze) and the cooking temps/times are approximate but doing corned beef and cabbage this way has always produced a nice, tender, flavorful dish for me. If you prefer less saltiness, I'd do the brisket soak mentioned above.
(Image credits: Brent Hofacker)