It’s been a long time since I cooked a corned beef brisket, but this year is definitely a go. Being of Scottish descent, I feel my old MacDonalds are close enough to the island that I’m bound to have some Irish kissing cousins. Corned beef is an oft-forgotten dish in my household. No one has ever asked me to cook it, but I’m crazy about it, especially from a leftovers standpoint.
My favorite leftover thing to do is corned beef hash. The potatoes, onions and sweet, salty meat with two runny eggs make up my second-favorite breakfast next to grits. It’s OK to serve both at the same time. I also love a Reuben sandwich. I never eat rye unless it’s with corned beef. Straight corned beef and sauerkraut is a great low-carb dinner if you keep some really good mustard handy. Of course, all these come to fruition only if I happen to have any leftovers from the night’s corned beef and cabbage dinner.
I usually cook cabbage on its own with some pork fat, but that’s the New Year’s Day method. For the corned beef version, you really need to cook them together. Those flavors love each other, and I don’t get beef and cabbage often enough. Remember, mustard is a friend of corned beef, and almost anything you do with it, from sandwiches to soups, could benefit from a nice jar or even a cheap squeeze bottle in a pinch.
• 1 corned beef brisket with spice packet
• 1 pound new potatoes, halved
• 2 large onions, sliced thin
• 1 head of cabbage, green removed, cored and sliced thin
• 2 tablespoon mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, cover the brisket and contents of seasoning packet with water. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer — a good rule is almost an hour per pound. It should fall apart easily.
Add the potatoes and onions and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the white part of the cabbage and two tablespoons of mustard and cook until done. Kill the heat and let it all rest to marry the flavors. You will have a few hours invested in this. If you don’t have the time to devote hands-on attention, then go for a slow-cooker version and start your day early enough to set it and forget it.
As usual, slice the meat across the grain and don’t forget the juice from the pot. I like mine with traditional Irish hot sauce, a pint of Guinness and a redhead by my side.
I’ve seen corned beef in potato soup, in Tater Tot casseroles, in egg rolls at Lucky’s Irish Pub, even in tacos. It’s around more than I think, it just isn’t on my mind until this time of year. I’m definitely making more than we can handle.
Have a safe St. Patrick’s day. Drink and eat yourself silly.
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