Tag Archives: Corned Beef

Corned Beef and Colcannon

12 Mar Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

This weekend was the first “official” road race of the spring running season up here in New England, the St. Paddy’s Five Miler, in Portsmouth, NH, where your’s truly ran an uninspired 45:30… One can almost smell spring in the air and with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought it was time to post my first Irish recipe. Here in America, when we think of St. Patrick’s Day, we think of parades, Guinness, and Corned Beef and Cabbage.Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

So what does corned beef have to do with MexItalian cuisine? Well, absolutely nothing, but I have always wanted to “corn” my own beef.  Now, the process of “corning” beef refers to the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt and without going into the menusha of wet-cured meats, gives the cheaper, tougher cut of brisket suppleness and tenderness. There are several advantages to corning your own beef. The first being that is so extraordinarily simple, why would you not do it yourself. Another reason is that you are in complete control the ingredients that you are using in the curing process and you have ownership of the flavors and nutritional value of the finished product. I am specifically talking about the use of sodium nitrite, or Pink Salt. There have been numerous studies on the use and consumption of nitrites, but to make it simple, I tend to shy away from any food additive that is lethal to humans in larger quantities. One only needs a few simple ingredients, a corning technique, and 5 days (it takes 5 days to cure the beef prior to cooking so start NOW!).

For my St. Patrick’s Day feast I decided to serve my home cured corned beef not simply with the traditional cabbage and potato, but with another dish that combines both the cabbage AND the potato; Colcannon! For those of you who have never heard of, or eaten colcannon, it is another delicious traditional Irish dish that is made by combining mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale.Colcannon

So now that I had my menu, I started by putting my meat to brine on Tuesday morning so that it would be ready for my post-race Sunday meal. I submerged the brisket in a stockpot and made some room for it on the top rack of my refrigerator and turned the brisket each night. On Sunday I simply rinsed the brisket, placed it in another stockpot, covered it with water, added a bit more pickling spice, and simmered the brisket for 3 1/2 hours. I then added the potatoes to the pot and cooked them WITH the beef in the same broth, I think that this really brings both dishes together!

As I always say, if it is worth eating, then it is worth doing right! Forget that packaged corned beef loaded with cancerous nitrites. This corned beef is made from 100% grass-feed beef, crystal clear spring water, and hand toasted pickling spices. Serve that up with a hearty serving of colcannon and you can have a St. Patrick’s Day feast you can be proud to serve!

What is your St. Patrick’s day meal? If you are Irish, what are your traditions?

Home-Cured Corned Beef

(Adapted from Micheal Ruhlman’s Corned Beef : How to Cure Your Own)

  • 1 5-pound beef brisket
  • 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice (see below)
  • 1 tsp pulverized celery seed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
  1. In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the pickling spice and the crushed celery seed.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.
  5. Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly.
  6. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrot, onion.
  7. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3.5 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.
Corned Beef and Colcannon

Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

Pickling Spice

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger.
  1. Combine peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan.
  2. Place over medium heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
  3. Crack peppercorns and seeds in a molcajete (mortar and pestal!) I knew I could add a Mexican twist to this!!
  4. Combine with other spices, mix and put in a tightly sealed plastic or glass container.

 

Colcannon

  • 8 large red potatoes
  • 1 head of Savoy Cabbage chopped
  • 6 scallions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Fat-Free   milk
  • 2/3 cups Fat-Free Sour Cream
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  1. Peel the potatoes rather lightly, it is ok to leave some of the skin on.
  2. Quarter them and place them in the stockpot cooking with the corned beef. Cook until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large sautee pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the butter.
  4. When all the butter is melted, add the cabbage and sautee until just wilting and then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until tender about 8 minutes, stirring often. (Take special care not to burn the cabbage). Turn off the heat and cover.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the stockpot with a slotted spoon and drain them well in a colander.
  6. Combine the milk and the sour cream in a bowl by simply whisking in the sour cream.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes well, combining the remaining butter and the milk and cream mixture. Continue to mash and stir until you get the desired texture that you like. (I like them a bit rustic and lumpy)
  8. Fold in the cabbage and add the scallions.
  9. Serve with the corned beef and a pint of Guiness!
Colcannon

Colcannon