Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Corned Beef Dinner

With St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday this year, there’ll be lots of corned beef dinners flowing along with other Irish-inspired foods and drinks.  So that you get to enjoy the fun, too, here’s an easy way to get a delicious corned beef dinner on the table. 

Tip #1:  Start the corned beef early on the day you’ll be having it for dinner. 

Tip #2:  Roast the vegetables instead of boiling them.  Roasting will give the vegetables more flavor and you don’t have to mind them much.


Corned Beef with Roasted Vegetables

1   corned beef brisket (flats have more fat and flavor; rounds are more lean) with a spice packet enclosed.

1   head of cabbage
½ lb carrots (optional)
4-5 red or Yukon Gold potatoes, small-medium size
Olive oil

Put the corned beef into a Dutch oven with enough water to cover the roast. Do not add the spice packet.  Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to low and slowly cook for 20-30 minutes.  Drain the water from the pot and refill the pot with enough fresh water so that the roast floats.  Discarding the original water helps reduce the salt and renders some of the fat.

Add the spices to the water.  Hint: putting the spices inside a tea ball before dropping it into the water helps manage the spices.  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to low and slowly cook the brisket 2-3 hours, turning once or twice.  Taste test for tenderness.  Remove from the water when the brisket is cooked.  A slow cooker may also be used to cook the brisket after the brisket has been initially boiled.  Start the brisket earlier than the stove-top method.

Wash the vegetables.  Remove the cabbage’s outer leaves and cut into ½” thick rounds. Peel carrots if desired.  Halve the potatoes and diagonally slice the carrots into 2-3” lengths.  In a large bowl coat the halved potatoes and sliced carrots with olive oil.  Arrange on large baking sheet in a single layer with the potato halves (cut side up) on the perimeter for even cooking.  On a second baking sheet, arrange the cabbage slices  in a single layer and brush with olive oil.  Carefully turn over cabbage and brush the other side. Lightly season vegetables with salt and pepper.

About an hour before dinner, roast the vegetables in a 350ºF oven for 45-60 minutes until potatoes start to brown on top.  Switch oven racks if necessary.

If the brisket is cool, about 15 minutes before the vegetables are finished, pour out a third of the liquid it was cooked in and bring the remaining liquid to a boil.  Gently place the brisket in the liquid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Remove brisket from liquid.

Slice brisket across the grain and serve, accompanied with mustards if desired.

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