Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Getting Ready for St. Patrick's Day with Corned Beef and Soda Bread

St. Patrick's Day means Corned Beef and Cabbage around our house.  This year we made one early to get our green underway.  We got a big 6 pound corned beef from the local butcher.  He prepares it himself.  I have always made the kind that comes packaged at the grocery store.  You know, the one with that little spice packet included.  Boil with spices add veg at the end, pretty simple really.

So this time it was a whole new ball game with a great cut from the local butcher.  I found a recipe online that I want to share.  It was definitely the best Corned Beef that I have ever made.  It seems no matter what, I am always tinkering with the recipe.  So here is what I changed:  I used a 6 pound cut of meat, one bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns.  I used the Sierra because that is what happened to be on hand.  And I really missed those little seeds in the spice packet, so I added some with the other spices.  And seriously, rinse that cut of beef well.

Corned Beef and Cabbage in Guinness


4 lbs flat cut corned beef brisket
1 (12 ounce) bottle Guinness draught (make sure you use Guinness draught, not stout as it will turn it bitter!)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cut into wedges, rinsed and drained
6 medium white potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 -2 lb carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces

1.  Rinse corned beef under cold water, and pat dry.
2.  In a Dutch oven, or other large pot with a cover, brown corned beef well on all sides over high heat.
3.  Pour Guinness over the meat, and add enough water to just cover the brisket.
4.  Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and pepper to the pot.
5.  Bring pot to a boil and skim off any foam.
6.  Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 3 hours.
7.  Add carrots, then potatoes and then the cabbage wedges to the pot.
8.  Cover pot, and continue cooking until meat and vegetables are tender (about 20-30 minutes).
9.  Remove meat and vegetables to warm serving platter/dishes, leaving the cooking liquid/sauce in the pot.
10.  Over high heat, bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half (about 10 minutes).
11.  Slice the corned beef; serve with the vegetables and the sauce on the side.  Note: Corned beef should always be sliced across the grain.

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Don't forget the condiments!    The mustard in the little beer stein is imported from Germany, and it is so creamy and perfect that you almost don't need the horseradish.  Here's a closer look at the label lid--

To go with that amazingly fork tender beef-- a slice of Irish Soda Bread.  So good.  The perfect accompaniment, like cornbread with chili.  And here is another great recipe from online.  I've made it many times, and it always rocks!


Irresistible Irish Soda Bread


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
2 cups buttermilk  
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor. 
 Now all you need is a green shirt and a beer!  Or an Irish Coffee!  See you at the parade in San Francisco. . .   

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! 


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