black and fake tan corned beef

It is too late to brine your own brisket for a corned beef feast on St. Patrick's Day.  I failed too.  I didn't plan ahead and instead purchased a far inferior corned beef in a bag of salt and preservatives as a hangover cure this weekend.  Like me, you lost out on the opportunity to impart a ton of flavor and control what went into the brine.  Make up for your error by cooking the damn thing in something other than a vat of plain water. 

I was out of cheesecloth to contain the spices.  I used a tea ball infuser.  If you don't have either of these, you can just throw the spices into the pot - just be careful to remove anything that clings to the meat after cooking.  A sharp bay leaf or bite full of chile seeds would not be pleasant.

Some basic corned beef and cabbage tips:
  • Use some beer to cook the hunk of beef. Beer > Water.
  • Boil the potatoes in the corned beef liquid but roast all the other vegetables.  This will provide distinct textures in your final dish and lend a caramelized sideshow to the salty meat main attraction.  This will also prevent your house from smelling of boiled cabbage.
Into the pot...

2 12oz. bottles of Guinness Stout (or sub another beer worth drinking)
6-8 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 - 4 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 dried chile de árbol, broken in half (or sub 1 tsp. red pepper flakes)
water to cover the beef

Put your brisket in a heavy bottomed pot along with your spices, beer, and enough water to cover the meat.
Bring liquid to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low (maybe medium-low).  You want it to simmer - bubbles breaking the surface of the water every few seconds, not a rolling boil.  Let it cook this way for about two hours.  You can check it after 90 minutes or so, but cooking it for three hours wouldn't hurt it either.  When brisket is fork tender, remove from pot.

I also boiled in the beef/beer liquid for about 20 minutes:
3 lbs. unpeeled medium red-skinned potatoes, quartered
3 medium onions, peeled and quartered

And roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper at 375 degrees for 40 minutes:
10 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 lbs. carrots peeled

And roasted with 4 strips of bacon at 450 degrees a la the Kitchn:
1 medium head of cabbage, stem removed, cut into 8 wedges

To make up my lapse in meat judgment to my also hungover guests, I whipped up some Irish Soda Bread* inspired by a nerdy 80s actor and a Blood Orange Polenta Upside-Down Cake.  Both were hits.

*The soda bread recipe in the magazine has been amended by bon appetit online.  My suggestion: watch the timing.  My bread was done in 45 minutes (recipe calls for 55 - 60). Also - slather with butter (see picture above) and eat it fast, it doesn't keep well for more than two days.

1 comment:

fortytwostars said...

HI! I just wanted to thank you for your recipe -- I wrote about my experience with it (which began with a panicked, "I need HOW LONG to make a corned beef?!" discovery) here: http://lindszilla.blogspot.com/2010/09/faked-up-corned-beef.html