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Corned Beef

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Corned Beef

Corned beef is so misunderstood. Much like all the hullabaloo of St. Patrick's Day and its tacky cartoon leprechauns (ahem, Mr. Organic Pork Producer), the holiday's signature dish is pretty much an Irish-American invention. For most of Irish history, cows were too expensive to be killed willy-nilly and traditional dishes consisted of some combination of pork, cabbage, and potatoes. The Bridge and Tunnel Club has found that one can easily spend a year in Ireland without ever once coming across a plate of corned beef . . . except in Dublin pubs that cater to tourists. It's not that no one eats it, but it is definitely more likely to be found in a New York deli than in a Galway pub.

Wellshire Corned Beef

That said, there's no good reason not to indulge in a little pickled cow. We would normally enjoy pickling our own brisket if you know what we mean, but this meal was spontaneously inspired by a St. Patrick's Day related sale at our local supermarket. Thus we begin with a lovely hunk of meat, completely pre-seasoned.

Corned Beef

Corned Beef Nutritional Information

If you want to start from scratch, just use the ingredients listed on this all-natural product and marinade your beef for a few days before cooking.

Boiling Corned Beef

To cook, place the corned beef in a large pot and cover it completely with about two inches of water. Toss in some sliced onions and carrots for flavor and season with pepper, bay leaves, and whatever savory herb might suit your fancy.

Boiling Corned Beef

Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat to simmer. A two-pound hunk of meat will take about 2 to 2.5 hours to be "fork tender." This phrase, which would make an excellent album title, means you can stick a fork in the thick of the meat and pull it out very easily. If you have a meat thermometer and you worry about the relative meaning of tenderness, just cook until you get an internal temperature of 160 F.

Greens

While the beef boils, make a few side dishes. We had some leftover Chinese greens that we steamed for 4 minutes . . .

Mashed Potato

Some potatoes we sliced, boiled for 20 minutes, then mashed with plain yogurt and sliced scallions . . .

Boiling Carrots

And a few carrots we sliced, boiled for 20 minutes, and then mashed.

Corned Beef

Sauce

When the beef was well cooked and resting on the carving board, we adapted -- or perhaps bastardized -- a recipe from the March 2005 issue of Saveur magazine to make a sauce. First, we melted a tablespoon of butter to saut´┐Ż half of a diced yellow onion. Then we added some flour to make a roux. When the roux was beginning to yellow, we added about a cup of the broth from the pot o' beef. We added some salt, pepper, nutmeg, chopped fresh parsley, and -- here's the kicker -- a couple tablespoons of Grey Poupon. From a squeeze bottle, no less! It really tasted good. Honestly.

Corned Beef Dinner

Corned Beef

If you haven't already figured it out, now you'll see that our side dishes make a deliciously kitschy plating for any Irish-themed event. Maybe it's St. Patrick's Day, or maybe you just Netflixed Riverdance. Corny. Get it? Yeah.

Corned Beef Served With Stout

We obviously suggest serving with stout or porter -- we especially love Brooklyn Brewery's Dark Chocolate Stout.

Links

The Kitchen Project's Corned Beef Page

FDA Food Safety and Inspection Service's Focus On Corned Beef Page

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