I remember when corned beef and cabbage was considered a "winter dish." Today I can think of nothing better than a platter of this delicacy, especially when the cabbage and fixings are slowly simmered in the corned beef poaching liquid.
Corned Beef Brisket
Prep Time: 3 Hours
Yields: 8 Servings
There is no meal better suited for dining in front of the fire than corned beef brisket. Most people eat this dish on St. Patrick’s Day, but I recommend trying it with friends around the open hearth on any cold day.
Ingredients for Pickling Spice Mix:
1 tbsp whole allspice berries
1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
9 whole cardamom pods
6 large dried bay leaves, crumbled
2 tsps ground ginger
Method for Pickling Spice Mix:
In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, combine allspice berries, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, cloves, peppercorns and cardamom pods then toast until fragrant and mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from heat. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind together all toasted spices. Stir in crumbled bay leaves and ground ginger. Set aside.
Ingredients for Brined Brisket:
1 (5-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
3 tbsps prepared Pickling Spice Mix (see recipe above)
2 cups kosher salt
5 tsps pink curing salt
½ cup brown sugar
½ cinnamon stick
Method for Brined Brisket:
In a large pot over high heat, combine Pickling Spice Mix, kosher salt, pink curing salt, brown sugar and ½ cinnamon stick with 1 gallon water. Bring to a boil and allow to cook 30 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature then strain out the pickling spice debris. Refrigerate brine liquid until well cooled. Place a 2-gallon freezer bag inside a large pan or container. Add brisket and 2 quarts of cold brine. Squeeze out the air from the bag and ensure the meat is completely submerged in liquid before sealing. Place in refrigerator 5–7 days, flipping daily to ensure all sides are equally brined.
Ingredients for Stew:
1 (5-pound) brined beef brisket (see recipe above)
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound turnips, peeled and quartered
2 pounds new potatoes, halved
1 small cabbage, cored
Method for Stew:
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 200°F. Remove brisket from bag and drain thoroughly, discarding brine. In a 2-gallon stockpot over medium-high heat, place brisket and cover by 1 inch with cold water. Bring to a low boil, skimming impurities that rise to the surface. Cover pot and boil 2½ hours or until meat is tender at thickest part. Meat is fully cooked when muscle fibers begin to loosen and a fork can be inserted easily. Remove brisket from pot and allow poaching liquid to simmer. Place brisket in a large baking pan with 1–2 cups of cooking liquid from stockpot. Cover pan with foil and place in oven to keep warm. Add carrots, turnips and potatoes to poaching liquid in stockpot and continue to simmer 10–12 minutes. Cut cabbage into 6 wedges and add to pot. Continue to simmer until cabbage is fork-tender. When ready to serve, remove brisket from oven and cut across grain into ¼-inch thick slices. Transfer sliced meat to a large serving platter, surround with poached vegetables and top with a serving of cooking liquid.