Here's how to make corned beef and cabbage the right way. My thanks to my great-grandmother Delia O'Dowd and other NYC Irish Catholics who invented it. It is not normally eaten in Ireland, folks!
- 1 (2 -6 lb) corned beef brisket
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 -3 head fresh cabbage
- 1 -12 medium red potatoes
- 1 (1 lb) bag fresh carrot
- fresh parsley (Dried won't do at all)
- real butter (margarine won't do at all. Besides, we now know that butter is better for us than any of the margari)
- 1 fresh garlic clove
- 1 medium fresh sweet onion
- yellow mustard (whatever floats your boat)
- irish soda bread (see my N .y. C. Irish Soda Bread recipe)
- Harp lager beer (optional)
- ------------Selecting the corned beef brisket------------.
- Go to the store several days ahead of time or you will have to pick out the best of what has been picked over again and again. The best will disappear first.
- Do not freeze.
- Pick out a nice thick slab checking the sides to make sure it isn't a very gristly one.
- Feel it because some butchers fold it over hiding the gristle if there is a lot of it.
- There will always be some gristle and it runs the length of the slab in the center.
- The thicker the slab the better. If you are lucky, you may see some chunk style at a higher price per pound.
- If there isn't a spice bag in with the brisket, you will need to get some whole peppercorns (white and black) and bay leaves.
- ------------Selecting the Cabbage-------------------.
- The heavier and more solid it is, the better it is.
- Smell it to make sure it isn't too bitter.
- You may have to go to another store if the whole batch has a very strong bitter smell. I have had to visit several stores to find a decent batch.
- Keep in mind that the outer leaves will be discarded even if the store has already removed the natural outer leaves to make them look better and fresher.
- --------------Selecting the Potatoes----------------.
- Watch out for the red dyed ones.
- Pick out a bag of medium to small sized ones.
- The smaller the better.
- If you are lucky enough to find the ones as small as salad tomatoes, they are the best.
- -------------Selecting the Carrots----------.
- Get the smallest bag they have unless you like carrots, because you will only use one per pot of cabbage to take any bitterness out of the cabbage.
- Serving a bowl of carrots is a big no no on Saint Patrick's Day.
- Preparing and cooking the meal-----------------------.
- (It's going to take 3 hours with you there).
- Use a large Dutch oven or stock pot that will hold everything all at once.
- Place the brisket (best side up) in the bottom of the pot.
- There's no need to rinse it because nothing bad will survive what you are about to do to it and you will remove the outer marinate.
- Add the spice packet or a teaspoonful of peppercorns and two bay leaves.
- Cover the brisket generously with water and a bottle of beer (optional - adds flavor and is a tenderizer).
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- During the 2 hours------------------------.
- Scrub and rinse the new red potatoes.
- Remove any eyes and bad spots.
- Leave as much of the peel as you can.
- Quarter them (halve or whole if tiny).
- Cover with water until ready for them.
- Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage until the leaves are entirely light green, rinse and cut it into quarters through the spine so they stay together. Set aside.
- Peel one carrot and cut it into quarters. Set aside.
- Peel the onion and cut it into eighths. Set aside.
- Rinse the bunch of fresh parsley and chop up just the tops into very tiny pieces.
- I find that kitchen scissors do just fine.
- After the 2 hours----------------------.
- Add the potatoes on top of the brisket.
- Add water to cover everything.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the cabbage on top of the potatoes and add onion and carrot on top of the cabbage.
- Add water to cover everything.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Check the cabbage to see if it is tender.
- If not, simmer another 5 minutes. You shouldn't undercook it and it's hard to overcook it.
- When done-----------------------.
- In a large serving bowl where you can stir the potatoes, crush the garlic clove and rub the inside of the bowl with it.
- Place the potatoes in the bowl while still piping hot and add (at least) a quarter pound of butter and add a handful (more is better than less) of chopped fresh parsley.
- Gently stir until butter is melted, it coats all the potato pieces and the parsley is evenly distributed.
- Put the rest of the parsley into a tiny serving bowl for those who want to add more to their potatoes.
- As I said, more is better.
- Slice the brisket cross grain.
- Let everyone help themselves, make it known that the carrot pieces are for garnish only.
- It also reminds Catholic Irishmen that the orange carrot piece is the color of Orangemen, the people they hate.
- If you wish to insult a Catholic Irishman, put a large full bowl of carrots on the table.
- If you love carrots, have them at another meal on another day.
- Hope there is leftovers for breakfast.
- See my March 18th Breakfast! It's a family tradition. We make sure we make enough to ensure leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Finely chopped fried corned beef and cabbage (the entire meal) and coffee is divine. We throw in any leftover parsley.
I'm originally from New England, and, have a wee bit of Irish in me. My mother, who was German and English, fixed our corned beef and cabbage exactly the same way when she used store bought corned beef. However, the old English corned beef is soaked in brine. You can use any kind of beef, such as chuck, sirloin, or fresh brisket, not an expensive cut. Wash it in cold water, put in pot big enough so that it can be covered with cold water, add 1 box of un-iodized salt, cover, put in refrigerator for 3 days. Turn a couple times during three days. (72 hrs. is sufficient, but, a few more or less won't matter.) Meat will be grayish in color, but, this in no way affects the flavor. On cooking day, rinse off salt, put in pot and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to boil, then, lower heat to a simmer. No spices are added, just all the veggies incl. onions, taters, cabbage, turnip,and, maybe a parsnip or two, after the meat is fork tender. At this point, I remove the meat from pot, cover with foil, and put aside, then add the veggies. The only thing we ever drank with it was beer, and it's one of our very favorite dishes. Just one comment. I believe the person who wrote this meant "gristle", not grizzle. Grizzle happens to be my daughter-in-law's maiden name. We always had rye bread with it to soak up some of the pot liquor. I've made myself hungry, so must go and get something to eat.
I am sure this is an excellent recipe. However I just want to comment that I was born in Dublin Ireland and we ate corn beef regularly.
WONDERFUL!!!!! I did everything as is except I used the seasoning packet provided with the meat and used 1 bay leaf + the peppercorns. The mashed garlic and butter with the potatoes was out of this world. We pour the cooking juice over everything on the plate + a little S&P and it was great. I can't wait to have this dinner again!