With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, instead of picking up the oddly pink piece of meat we have come to know as corned beef, why not make your own this year. Wanting to do this myself, I wondered about the roots of the dish we have all come to love and the old world technique used to flavor and cure the meat used in creating it. With a little research, I discovered that the overly salty and artificially preserved grocery store variety of corned beef has a delicious and hearty close relative. With a little planning ahead, this easy-to-make recipe shows what a good healthy meal this can really be.
You need to start about five to seven days before you plan on serving this for dinner and it turns out great. Begin with a fresh, all natural Angus beef brisket and follow this recipe and you will be sure to please your family and friends.
First we start with the brine. For this you will need the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dry English mustard
3 tablespoons pickling spice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Angus beef brisket, 7 to 9 pounds
10 cups water
Combine water, salt, sugar, mustard, spices, and three cloves of minced garlic in an 8-quart nonreactive stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. While the liquids cool, trim your brisket of as much excess fat as you can. When the liquid has cooled, add the brisket. You may need to transfer the liquids and the brisket to a larger container or bowl; just make sure it is nonreactive. If necessary, add more cold water to cover the beef. Using a heavy pottery bowl or a few small bowls, weigh the corned beef down so it will stay completely covered with liquid. Cover and refrigerate for five to seven days. Take out once a day to stir lightly and turn the beef as needed. On the sixth or seventh day, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse well with cold water. Set aside while you gather together the following ingredients:
3 ribs celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 large onions, cut in wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
Place the brisket in a large (8-quart or larger) pot. Add all ingredients and enough cold water to cover. I like to use a pint of ale with the water, but this is optional. Bring to a boil; skim off any scum that develops on the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for three hours. At this point, uncover the pot and add some garnishing vegetables. I like to use the following:
6-8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in quarters
5 carrots cut in 2-inch lengths
2 small rutabagas cut in 2-inch chunks
1 large head of green cabbage quartered, cored and cut into pieces
Cover the large pot and cook until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove beef and let rest for 10-15 min. Slice and serve with vegetables, broth and a nice crusty bread. Irish Soda bread or sourdough work well. This dish is almost better the second day. Enjoy!
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