Irish or not, it had to be done. During the week that includes St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is just a little bit Irish, and Corned Beef and Cabbage has to make an appearance.
A celebratory dish that turns up once a year takes a little bit of thought. Especially if you have no ethnic background with years of experience under your belt.
I’ve tried different techniques over the years, but I think that braising produces the best results. Boiling on top of the stove produces tough meat, and trying to regulate the pot for hours in an attempt to keep things at an even simmer is an exercise in frustration. Braising takes care of that problem.
Just for the record, corned beef has a quite a bit of fat and shrinks a lot. A three pound piece of meat will feed three people, with leftovers.
Ingredients ( For six people with leftovers for hash or sandwiches)
2 3pound pieces of corned beef
8 whole peeled potatoes
8 whole peeled onions
8-10 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 large cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
1 8 quart or 2 6 quart oven proof pots with lids
1. Almost cover the meat with cold water. If the meat fits comfortably in one big pot, that will work. If not, use two pots to start. Once the meat shrinks down, you can put the two pieces into one pot. Bring to a boil on top of the stove.
2. Put the covered pot (or pots) into a pre-heated 325 oven for 3 hours. At that point, the meat should be close to tender. Since, I had started with two pots, I transferred both pieces of meat to one pot, and put it back in the oven for another half hour. I then used the liquid from the second pot to cook the vegetables. If you’re using one pot, leave it in the oven for 3 1/2 hours.
3. Remove the meat with some of the liquid; cover with foil and set aside.
4. Put the potatoes, onions, and carrots into the braising liquid. Bring to a boil on top of the stove. Cover and place in a 325 over for about a half hour, until the vegetables are fork tender. Remove from the liquid, cover, and set aside.
5. Cabbage is last. Put the wedges into the same braising liquid. Bring to a boil. Cover and put the pot in the 325 over for about 20 minutes. You want tender cabbage, but not soggy cabbage.
6. At this point, I removed the layer of fat and cut the corned beef into slices against the grain. I then put all of the vegetables and meat into a roasting pan; added some of the braising liquid to keep things moist. I covered it with a layer of parchment paper and sealed the pan with heavy duty foil. Shortly before dinner, I popped it back in the same 325 over for about a half hour to make sure everything was warm.
7. Yes, lots of steps, but a finished product ready to serve with tender meat and vegetables that retain their taste and texture.