Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
I'm not Irish by any means, but as I tell Europeans, all Americans think there's some Irish in them and especially so on this holiday when most everyone crams in the cured beef and boiled cabbage. I've been making this annual dish for some years now, but this is the first that I have made it bottom up; i.e., starting at the corning.
This dinner had to take a bit of elementary planning, as I had to make sure the beef brisket will have been brined enough to be fully corned, which generally takes about three days. I've found through experience that any longer for the first cut brisket makes for a saltier brisket of corned beef that must be simmered longer to reduce the saltiness. That meant buying the brisket by Monday. I managed to get it by Monday evening, and I thought it'd be fine if I started brining that evening.
Lets start on St. Paddy's day though. The morning involved pulsing the following together in the food processor for the soda bread:
4 c flour
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp backing soda
4 tbs cold butter
This is kneaded together after the addition of 2 c buttermilk, scored with an X about 1/2 in deep, and baked at 425°F for 40 minutes. Bang! Baked while dealing with my morning work files.
Before brining the 10 lbs of brisket I trimmed about 1 lb of fat from it, so I could render the beef fat for later use.
Around 4 o'clock I rinsed the brine off of the brisket and set to boil it by 6 pm when people would start showing. My single bedroom apartment was at capacity tonight with a total of four people in it, so I missed a few photos opportunities, but I think everyone knows what a pot with liquid covering meat looks like. This is what a brisket of corned beef looks like after two hours of simmering.
I whipped up a mustard glaze with the following ingredients:
6 oz whole grain dijon mustard (half a Trader Joe's jar)
3 tbs honey
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ginger (1/2 in piece)
1 tsp onion powder
1 clv garlic
Off to the grill!
After the glaze has formed a nice crust, I put it in a pan and tacked it against the outside wall of my apartment.
I then Sandra Lee'd it and made a tablescape out of my food. In case any of my guests had digestive issues with the meal, I left out some super gas treatment.
Boiled vegetables are boiled vegetables: generally boring even if you throw parsnips into the mix of cabbage, red potato, and carrots. It still all goes into the greasy corned beef broth that leeches more flavor that contributing. Good for later soup use, crappy for tonight's side. I suppose it cooks the veg though...
At any rate, this is when the rendered beef fat enters, and everything is tossed in the fat and seasoned with crushed black pepper. See!
The cabbage was never the star of the show though. The corned beef is, and I really couldn't stop laughing as I fluffed it like this.
Everything was delicious, and again I made way too much food for such a small dinner party. For some reason, it made sense that each person should have 2.5 lbs of corned beef. Despite the ingurgitating pleasure, I goofed the corning. I should've bought the brisket on Sunday. It only brined for 2.5 days before I cooked it. It could have benefited from an additional day. I spoiled everyone's meal by allowing certain parts of the brisket to have this unsightly appearance.