Give Corned Beef and Cabbage a Chance
On St. Patrick’s Day, it seems we’re either donning head-to-toe green, rushing out to join a band of revelers, or sitting down to an austere dinner of dry corned beef and over-cooked cabbage. If only we started pickling our briskets at home rather than slapping a few store-bought slices onto a plate with a side of bland vegetables, this traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish would likely have a different image altogether.
Perhaps corned beef will never achieve the pizzazz of, say, a sky-high double-bacon cheeseburger. But what it lacks in visual bravado it makes up for in intensely meaty, almost buttery flavor — if it’s done right. If you’re giving corned beef a second try this year — and we highly recommend that you do — there are a few things to know.
Success hinges on the quality of your brisket. The flavorful beef comes in two different cuts: point and, the leaner, flat. Depending on which you get, your corned beef may be tender and sliceable (flat cut) or very tender, so much so that it’s practically falling apart (point cut). If your brisket isn’t labeled, speak with the butcher about which variety your grocery store stocks.
Once you get your brisket home, the next step is pickling. Start with a flavorsome brine. A classic mixture will include brown sugar, mustard seeds and peppercorns, but you can customize the recipe to suit your tastes.
From there, the rest is up to you. Bake it, braise it, put it in the slow cooker — whatever suits your schedule. If you need some inspiration, here are a few foolproof recipes worthy of your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Spoiler: Some of the best involve leftovers.
Tyler Florence’s classic corned beef stands out from the rest thanks to a flavor-packed brine that includes mustard seeds, fresh thyme, marjoram and a very generous helping of brown sugar. After pickling the brisket overnight, Tyler treats it to several hours in a Dutch oven to ensure fall-apart-tender results.
St. Patrick’s Day dinner doesn’t get much easier than this slow-cooker version of corned beef and cabbage. Toss in 12 ounces of your favorite Irish stout for rich, malty flavor.
The chefs in Food Network Kitchen opt to serve their mustard-glazed corned beef with buttery chunks of rutabaga — a hearty, in-season alternative to cabbage.
Better the Next Day
Most corned beef recipes will serve eight to 10 guests, so if you’re having a small dinner party, you can count on having leftovers. Here are a few ways to use up the rest of your corned beef.
Chase away your St. Paddy’s Day hangover with creamy poached eggs served on top of a hearty bed of corned beef hash. Don’t be too quick with your spatula — you want the hash to be crisp, so wait about eight to 10 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side.
Once you try this wholesome barley soup, you’ll realize that a nutty grain is the one factor a plate of corned beef and cabbage has always been missing. Toss in a generous amount of halved plum tomatoes for a touch of sweetness and acidity.
For an Irish twist on everyone’s favorite party food, layer corned beef, cabbage and potatoes over a homemade pizza crust, then top with three cheeses: mozzarella, Monterey Jack and Parmesan.