Monday, March 11, 2013

Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce - St. Patty's Day Delight

Guess what? 

I'm on Spring Break! 

The last one I'll ever have - boooo!

The bright side? Next year I'll be on clinical rotations and then the year after that -- wait for it -- I'll be a pharmacist! Time is sorta flying if I think about it, but when I'm up all night studying I'm all, "Oh em gee this process is never ending!"

Anyways - who's gearing up for St. Patrick's Day? I hope you're all saying, "Me! ME! Me! I am, I am!" I kinda love St. Patty's Day. I mean -- what other day can you dress up in green, talk in an accent, eat delicious food, consume wonderful libations, and do it all with your closest friends? There IS no other day! Seize it people, you'll be sorry if you don't. 

For Richmonders, Shamrock the Block is probably one of (if not) the first outdoor festival of the year -- we love our outdoor festivals in Richmond. Each year, my friends do a huge Irish brunch complete with Guinness, Irish Car Bombs, green mimosas and beer. It's an awesome time to say the least. Around noon, we walk on down to the festival (perks of friends living in Church Hill) and scope out our spot -- last year it was at good 'ol Rosie's. By the end of the day, we're all grateful that we stuffed our faces that morning.

In previous years, one of our friends always made the corned beef and cabbage. What's the problem this year? She moved! Such a bummer any way you look at it, especially since she's the most fun out of all of us AND her corned beef was the most delicious ever. 

My solution? I'll make it. 


Yea. That's right. 

I couldn't just show up this weekend with a corned beef that I had never tried, so last weekend I studied about a million recipes and pins to test things out. Here's my product. It's delicious. It's easy. You can't go wrong. If you do, call me up and have some beer waiting for me -- I'll help ya out. 

O and one more thing -- what's corned beef and cabbage without some horseradish sauce? NOTHING. You have to make this. I'd keep it in my fridge year round if I could. 

I can. 

But I shouldn't. 

Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage 

What You'll Need

  • ~3 lb corned beef brisket - in brine 
    • Yes, this matters. Let's talk brisket for a second. There's beef brisket and corned beef brisket. The difference? Beef brisket is plain and unseasoned. It's just beef. Corned beef brisket has sat in a brine, flavorings and spices have been added, etc. You can certainly purchase a beef brisket and brine it/season it yourself and then cook accordingly to achieve this dish, buuuuut that would take me forever and ain't nobody got time for that. Just google around or look on Pinterest, there are various beef brisket brine recipes (say that three times fast) out there.
  • 14 to 16 C cold water
  • 2 or 3 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 small head of cabbage or ~1/2 large head of cabbage - cut into thick wedges
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs. small, new potatoes (~11 potatoes) - halved 
    • My grocer didn't have new potatoes, so I opted for baby yukon golds instead - new potatoes will have a better flavor/thinner skin.
  • 1 small bag of baby carrots 
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Guinness to accompany your meal -- it's a must.

How To Make It

  • Preheat your oven to 300F.
  • Using a colander in your sink, remove the corned beef from the package and rinse with cold water. There will be a flavor packet of seasonings somewhere inside -- just toss it out.
  • Once your meat is rinsed, add your corned beef to a dutch oven with a tight lid or a stock pot with a tight lid. The dutch oven I had on hand was only 6 quarts -- you really need something 8 to 10 quarts to ensure your meat has enough room with liquid inside. 
  • Next, add ~16 cups of cold water to your meat and pot. 
  • On the stovetop, bring your pot to a boil. As it begins to boil, skim off the crud that begins to surface. 
  • Now you can add all of your spices -- cloves, bay leaves, allspice berries, and peppercorns. Just an fyi -- if you deviate to much from this spice list, such as adding a lot more or less of any one thing, it will dramatically change the flavor profile of the dish. That's not a bag thing, just a heads up. "Whole" spices are very potent and flavorful which is why you don't need a lot. Adding them once you've skimmed the crud off will ensure that you don't remove any that accidentally float to the top.
  • Once your spices have been added, allow to bubble for a minute or two. 
  • Next, add your pot with a tight fitting lid to a 300F oven and cook for 3 hours and 40 minutes. 
  • When the meat is done, remove the meat from the pot and allow to rest on a serving dish/cutting board while your veggies cook. Make sure you cover it tightly in foil. 
  • Place your pot with cooking liquid back on the stove top and bring to a rapid simmer/slow boil. 
  • Add in your carrots, then potatoes, then cabbage leaving one to two minutes between each. Cabbage takes the least amount of time to cook and you don't want it to become mushy. After cooking for about ~10 to 15 minutes, remove veggies from liquid and reserve some liquid for serving.
  • All done - enjoy!

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 C + 1/8C sour cream
  • 1/4 C + 1/8C mayonnaise 
  • 1/8 C + 2 tbsp. jarred grated horseradish with liquid (often found near the eggs/dairy at your grocer)
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Lots of fresh ground black pepper

How To Make It
  • Throw it all in a bowl and you're done! This sauce recipe can easily be doubled or more for larger crowds. One thing is for certain -- it's necessary. I like lots of horseradish and lots of lemon, so the more the better in my opinion. 

How many can you serve with this recipe? I'd say six healthy servings or eight proportional servings result. Variations for the entree? Some people use red potatoes, some don't use carrots or potatoes at all, some use a combination of these spices in addition to others, or leave a few out, and some even use Guinness. Horsey sauces vary too with the addition of mustard and various vinegars. As you can see, the possibilities are endless! 

Serving options? You could serve this with soda bread on the side and some fresh ground mustard if horsey sauce really isn't your thing. I'm not Irish and I've never had someone show me how to brine brisket or how an actual Irishman might cook their beef, but I do know one thing -- what I made is tender and melts in your mouth and that's good enough for me.

Seriously, what's easier than this? 

This dish isn't reserved just for St. Patty's Day - try it out at home for your family or perhaps for you and the loved one!


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