Corned Beef and Cabbage


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Servings: 8-12
3hrs 2mins
  • 1 (2 -6 lb) corned beef brisket
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 -3 head fresh cabbage
  • 1 -12 medium red potatoes
  • 1 (1 lb) bag fresh carrot
  • fresh parsley (Dried won't do at all)
  • real butter (margarine won't do at all. Besides, we now know that butter is better for us than any of the margari)
  • 1 fresh garlic clove
  • 1 medium fresh sweet onion
  • yellow mustard (whatever floats your boat)
  • 1 loaf rye bread (traditional) or 1 loaf irish soda bread (see my N .y. C. Irish Soda Bread recipe)
  • Harp lager beer (optional)
  • ------------Selecting the corned beef brisket------------.
  • Go to the store several days ahead of time or you will have to pick out the best of what has been picked over again and again. The best will disappear first.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Pick out a nice thick slab checking the sides to make sure it isn't a very gristly one.
  • Feel it because some butchers fold it over hiding the gristle if there is a lot of it.
  • There will always be some gristle and it runs the length of the slab in the center.
  • The thicker the slab the better. If you are lucky, you may see some chunk style at a higher price per pound.
  • If there isn't a spice bag in with the brisket, you will need to get some whole peppercorns (white and black) and bay leaves.
  • ------------Selecting the Cabbage-------------------.
  • The heavier and more solid it is, the better it is.
  • Smell it to make sure it isn't too bitter.
  • You may have to go to another store if the whole batch has a very strong bitter smell. I have had to visit several stores to find a decent batch.
  • Keep in mind that the outer leaves will be discarded even if the store has already removed the natural outer leaves to make them look better and fresher.
  • --------------Selecting the Potatoes----------------.
  • Watch out for the red dyed ones.
  • Pick out a bag of medium to small sized ones.
  • The smaller the better.
  • If you are lucky enough to find the ones as small as salad tomatoes, they are the best.
  • -------------Selecting the Carrots----------.
  • Get the smallest bag they have unless you like carrots, because you will only use one per pot of cabbage to take any bitterness out of the cabbage.
  • Serving a bowl of carrots is a big no no on Saint Patrick's Day.
  • Preparing and cooking the meal-----------------------.
  • (It's going to take 3 hours with you there).
  • Use a large Dutch oven or stock pot that will hold everything all at once.
  • Place the brisket (best side up) in the bottom of the pot.
  • There's no need to rinse it because nothing bad will survive what you are about to do to it and you will remove the outer marinate.
  • Add the spice packet or a teaspoonful of peppercorns and two bay leaves.
  • Cover the brisket generously with water and a bottle of beer (optional - adds flavor and is a tenderizer).
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  • During the 2 hours------------------------.
  • Scrub and rinse the new red potatoes.
  • Remove any eyes and bad spots.
  • Leave as much of the peel as you can.
  • Quarter them (halve or whole if tiny).
  • Cover with water until ready for them.
  • Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage until the leaves are entirely light green, rinse and cut it into quarters through the spine so they stay together. Set aside.
  • Peel one carrot and cut it into quarters. Set aside.
  • Peel the onion and cut it into eighths. Set aside.
  • Rinse the bunch of fresh parsley and chop up just the tops into very tiny pieces.
  • I find that kitchen scissors do just fine.
  • After the 2 hours----------------------.
  • Add the potatoes on top of the brisket.
  • Add water to cover everything.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage on top of the potatoes and add onion and carrot on top of the cabbage.
  • Add water to cover everything.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Check the cabbage to see if it is tender.
  • If not, simmer another 5 minutes. You shouldn't undercook it and it's hard to overcook it.
  • When done-----------------------.
  • In a large serving bowl where you can stir the potatoes, crush the garlic clove and rub the inside of the bowl with it.
  • Place the potatoes in the bowl while still piping hot and add (at least) a quarter pound of butter and add a handful (more is better than less) of chopped fresh parsley.
  • Gently stir until butter is melted, it coats all the potato pieces and the parsley is evenly distributed.
  • Put the rest of the parsley into a tiny serving bowl for those who want to add more to their potatoes.
  • As I said, more is better.
  • Slice the brisket cross grain.

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