Sunday, March 22, 2009

Paddy’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage

I had no intention of writing about St. Patrick’s Day, but an “anonymous” reader made a request for a good corned beef recipe. The first thing that popped in my mind was the Good Eats episode on corned beef.

Unfortunately, Alton’s recipe for corned beef has 10 days of prep time. Needing something a little faster, yet still delicious, I elected to try his corned beef and cabbage recipe.

Albeit with one major shortcut.

I realize that using a corned beef from Fresh Market is cheating but I needed something for Paddy’s Day, not next week.

With my corned beef ready, I started down the road to corned beef and cabbage.

Once the corned beef was in the pot, I added two bay leaves and about a tablespoon of black pepper, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon ground allspice, or thereabouts.

After adding in 3 quarts of water, I set everything to a boil and then lowered to a simmer for about 2-2 ½ hours.

While the corned beef was simmering, I got to work on the vegetation for the dish.

Four small carrots, 2 small onions, and 2 stalks of celery were all diced and put in a bowl. Next 3 potatoes were peeled and chopped and put in bowl of water. I put them in a bowl of water to keep the potatoes from browning, just in case you were wondering. Last but not least, the middle bowl features a 2lb head of cabbage that has been chopped.

At the end of 2 hours, I had a very tender corned beef.

With the corned beef ready, I added in the carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes.

After 15 minutes of simmering, I added in the final ingredient, the cabbage.

Another 15-20 minutes of simmering was necessary for tender cabbage, but after that I ended up with this.

Now I had a problem, I wasn’t sure what to do with the corned beef. Given how tender it was, I decided to shred it with a couple of forks.

It may be a little uncouth, but it got the job done.

The all important taste test was the last thing. I’m not really sure what corned beef and cabbage is supposed to taste like, but I was pretty pleased with the results. There wasn’t any of the greasiness that I usually associate with cabbage, and the pepper and allspice were pleasantly prominent.

After I filled up a few to go containers, I was left with a pot full of potential, potential corned beef hash. However, that’s for another day.

I hope my “anonymous” reader enjoyed this little taste of Paddy’s Day. Maybe next time, I’ll plan far enough ahead to make my own corned beef.

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