Monday, March 16, 2009
Cead Mille Failte: Corned Beef Brisket
My sister and I always had quite the fun sneaking into mom's store of green food coloring and dying everything green on the feast o' St. Pat's. Most years the mashed potatoes ended up green. The beer was ALWAYS dyed green by the end of the evening. And one year, we even managed to swirl a bit into the butter on the dinner table.
You can imagine what a joyful day it was when I brought Peef into the fold and introduced him to my family's traditional St. Patrick's day dinners. He had NO idea how Irish he really was until he sipped a pint o' stout and took a bite of a traditional boiled dinner. These days, Peef claims to be a long-lost Leprechaunian soul whose spirit was whisked into the present regions by an Enchanted Blarney wind. He fancies that I married him for his gold, and he's spent the past ten years keepin' it from me like a good little Leprechaun. heh!
These days, Peef and I have taken on the tradition of making the annual Irish feast. Although the side dishes have a tendency to change, the one constant is the corned beef. Yes, we realize that beef probably wasn't traditional fare eaten by Irish peasants back in the day (it was more likely mutton or seafood on feast days), but it sure is tasty. Burp's brisket is a delicious variation on the usual -- a brisket, braised in stout, with a dash of dill, some garlic, a bit of pepper, and some clove thrown in for good measure. It takes a couple of hours to prepare, but you can also short-cut the process by prepping it in the crockpot.
Ready to begin? Alright. Let's go!
It doesn't take a whole lot of ingredients to make yourself a kick-butt St. Patty's day brisket. Just a bit of good, local, Irish stout, some tomato paste, a bit of dill, some brown sugar, a few peppercorns, and about 3-4 whole cloves.
You mix all of those seemingly incongruous ingredients into a virtual witch's brew of schlurk. (Schlurk is a lovely word; use it well and often). Make all the gross faces you like at this juncture... but believe you me, when all of this is over, you're gonna wish you didn't scoff at me and my crazy concoctions.
At this point, you want to draw the Boy of the house out of his dark hiding place and hand him the package of disgusting looking corned beefyness. Boys know what to do with this sort of thing. The appropriate treatment goes something like this: Unwrap package of meat. Ignore the fact that the weird red gelly stuff is really grossing you out. Turn on the tap. Place the meat beneath the cold running waters. Pray for cleanliness.
Now that the meat is nice and squeaky clean, you can let it mingle with some veggies in the big gorgeous dutch oven your parents bought you for Christmas. That meat does love hangin' with its veggie kinfolk, doesn't it? Reminds us all that we're all woven from the same fabric. Amen.
OK, enough of the silliness. It's back to cooking.
Now, go back and get that bowl of schlurk that you lovingly prepared earlier. You whisked it well, didn't you? Hope so! Cuz now you want to pour that mess right over the top of Mr. Meat and his Veggie Friends. Get him going at a nice simmer, and leave him there for a good... 3 hours or so. Start checking him for doneness at around 2 1/2 hours, keeping in mind that every meat has his own time frame. Some take 3 hours. Others take 4. You can't rush love, honey.
When you pull him out of his bath, you might choose (as I do) to slip him into the oven for a while to brown up his exterior bits. But, that's completely up to you.
Any way you slice it (we suggest thinly, and across the grain), this corned beef is going to be flavorful and tender. And just perfect for your Irish Day feasting. Or reuben sammiches. Or breakfast hash. Or whatever your lil heart desires.
We like to serve him up with a nice glass of our favorite local stout (Lakefront Brewery Snake Chaser), a nice big bowl of cheesy colcannon with leeks, and some steamed carrots. Oh, yes -- and don't forget the horseradish!
Burp's Corned Beef Brisket
Erin Go Bragh!
And if corned beef isn't quite enough o' the green for you, check out these Seven Weird Green Foods.
©BURP! Where Food Happens