Friday, March 8, 2013

Beer Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage

Dutch oven ready for roasting
corned beef.
It's almost St. Patrick's Day! It's one of my favorite holidays because--well, heck--it's a great excuse to drink beer and cook with beer!

Here's my Beer Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe. First, I highly recommend you get a premium brisket from your local butcher shop. You do get what you pay for, generally speaking. Those slimy, gooey, plastic-packaged briskets they pile up in the meat case at Safeway once a year barely qualify as meat. Soylent Pink, maybe? Spend a little extra money. Your stomach will thank you.

This recipe calls for a stout or porter. You may want to avoid anything too hoppy, bitter or radically flavored for this job. (I'll be using my own plain jane, homebrew stout for the recipe this year. I have a case of the stuff, so might as well use it!)

The brisket is roasted in the oven, which I believe is the best method--much better than boiling all of the taste out of it. The idea is to get some flavor INTO that salty slab of cow, not make it even less palatable. Here's the recipe:

4-5 lb corned beef brisket
1 Bomber of your favorite porter or stout
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 quart vegetable broth
1 head cabbage, cut into wedges, rinsed well
8-10 small red potatoes, washed and halved
1 -2 lbs carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered 
1 IMPORTANT: Rinse corned beef under cold water, and pat dry.
2 Mix brown sugar with the caraway seeds, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and rub into brisket, coating both sides thoroughly.
3 Place brisket on a meat rack in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan with a cover.
4 GENTLY pour beer over the meat, making sure the brown sugar/spice mixture gets wet but stays in place. Add the vegetable broth and minced veggies on the sides.
5 Add the peppercorns and bay leaf.
6 Bake at 350 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
7 During the last hour of roasting, carefully turn the brisket over, and add the carrots, potatoes and sweet onion.
8 When the potatoes are just getting soft, add the cabbage wedges.
8 Cook about 15 more minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
9 Remove meat from Dutch oven and set aside for about 15 minutes before slicing.
10 Drain out the beer broth and bring to a boil in a sauce pan until it reduces. You can whisk in a little corn starch to thicken it, if you want more of a gravy.
11 Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with the vegetables and the sauce/gravy on the side.

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