Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A St Patrick's Feast, Corned Beef and Cabbage the results!

It's here, You know what I’m talking about. That day, that holiday I love, St Patrick's. As a I wrote in my last posting I was going to cure my own corned beef. Well today is the day. It's done, I hope. Walking slowly to the refrigerator, I open the door and retrieve the brisket that I had lovingly put in brine not more than 10 day ago. Moving to the sink I think, “10 days, What am I going to find when I open that bag?” I open the zip top carefully and smell. Hmm no off smells, that's a good sign. I then pour off the brine and see that the gods of food preservation have rewarded me, with the gift of Corned Beef, well almost. It's not done yet.

I decided that I would have some friends and family over to celebrate, in the Spirit of” A Year of Making Everything”, I Would be making everything. I rinsed the brine off the beef and decided that I would make this 2 ways. One preparation was for sandwich meat and the other was for Corned Beef and Cabbage. I placed the brisket halves in two separate pots. Pot number one is the pot for sandwich meat. Again we follow the advice of Alton Brown for that finally perperation.

Corned Beef
1 (4 to 5 pound) Brined beef brisket
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

Yeah that's it. Now, go find yourself some Jewish style Rye bread, yellow mustard, and a beer. I NOW know what happiness is.
The second pot is the money maker. The dish of my heritage, The one dish that many Bishops give Special Dispensation if  St. Patrick's day should fall on a Friday during Lent, Corned Beef and Cabbage. Taking the other brisket and placed it in a a pot and again followed the Sage like advice Mr. Brown. I decide to make an alteration to this dish however. I decide that I would make Colcannon so I omitted the potatoes. Sorry Alton They didn't seem necessary.

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Adapted from an Alton Brown recipe


2 to 2 1/2 pound Corned Beef Brisket
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound diced carrots, approximately 4 small
1/2 pound diced onions, approximately 2 small
1/4 pound diced celery, approximately 2 stalks
1 small head cabbage, chopped, approximately 2 pounds


Brisket should be prepared through the brining stage, but not cooked.

Place the corned beef, pepper, allspice, bay leaves and salt into a large 8-quart pot along with 3-quarts of water. Cover and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to low and cook, at a low simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 1/2 hours add the carrots, onions, and celery. Return to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the cabbage and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately.

Okay 2 types of Corned Beef going, now we need something else if it's going to be a party. Once again I look to Ireland for inspiration. Colcannon was what I had to have. This dish unlike Corned Beef and Cabbage, is actually Irish. It is a tradition on Halloween in Ireland and even has it's own song in Ireland called, appropriately enough, “Colcannon”. Colcannon is a mashed potato with Kale or cabbage, and seeing how I already had the cabbage, that's what I made it with.

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • butter to your taste (I used about a half a stick)
  • sour cream to your taste
  • milk to the consistency you want.
  1. Bring some salted water to boil, add the potatoes and simmer until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile cook the bacon in a Saute pan over medium heat until it renders, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, salt and pepper and cook until it foams, about a minute.
  4. Add the cabbage to the bacon, and let cook until tender stirring often, the length of time will depend on your cabbage
  5. Add the green onions, cook for 5 minutes, adjust seasoning
  6. Mash the potatoes, mix in the cabbage and bacon followed by the butter, sour cream and enough milk until you get the consistency you want.

Okay a side dish done What else? Well I have Kerry Gold Butter in the Fridge, I'm thinking soda bread. Soda bread is very traditional Irish fare and is served as a staple. It uses simple ingredients, does not require very much kneading, has no raising or proofing and if you have an oven safe skillet and a bowl you pretty much have all the equipment that you need. I was lucky enough to have a friend that bakes bread as a hobby and he gave me this recipe. Thanks Mike!!

Irish Soda Bread
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups currants
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg


Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter heavy ovenproof 10- to 12-inch-diameter skillet with 2- to 2 1/2-inch-high sides. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add butter; using fingertips or pastry cutter, rub or cut in until coarse crumbs form. Stir in the currants. Whisk buttermilk and egg in medium bowl to blend. Add to dough; using your Clean hands, stir just until well incorporated (dough will be very sticky).
Transfer dough to prepared skillet; smooth top, mounding slightly in center. Using small sharp knife dipped into flour, cut 1-inch-deep X in top center of dough. Bake until bread is cooked through and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool bread in skillet 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Okay, I think we have the makings of St. Patrick's Day. So how was dinner? The corned beef and cabbage is the only way I will ever make it. Pink Perfection. The Colcannon was a great accompaniment to the beef. The Soda Bread, Well that could have gone better. It was very tasty, and for the most part had a good texture, but came out doughy in the center. This was not the recipes fault. I had someone helping me and asked that he get a a timer from another room. I was wrangling a 12 inch cast iron skillet with the bread in it. When he returned, I said to him”set that for an hour!” which he did. At some time in the course of making the meal I looked at said timer to realize that it still said 1 hour. I guess I got what I asked for but by this time had No idea how long the bread had been in. Fortunately fewer people attended than I thought would and was able to serve the bread from the edges and it was very good.
So that's it. My dinner went well. And I cured and cooked my own Corned Beef and Cabbage. You know I might never open one of those bags at the grocery store ever again. So what did you do for St. Patrick's day? Any good food stories out there? Please comment and let us know.

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