Bravely Facing Corned Beef (and all the fixins)

When it comes to cooking, I feel fairly confident. Whether it’s a steak and potatoes kind of a night, or a spicy curry dish, I know my way around a kitchen. However, I have a confession: I may have a slight phobia of large cuts of meat. So here I am (after a phone call to Mama asking for her wisdom and secret sauce), trying my hand at corned beef.

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On picking your beef: unless you are the kind of go-getter with tons of time to salt-cure your own slab of meat for days on end, buy the one in the package. Trust me, it’s the way to go. And if I may quote Mama here “Don’t buy the cheap one.” I completely agree. Upon surveying my options at my usual grocery store, I was not impressed. So after a few more stops, I found one that looked respectable.

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Let’s meet our other ingredients:

1 corned beef brisket (mine was 4lbs but a little smaller is fine)

1 onion, chopped

1 C chopped celery

2 C chopped carrots

2 Tbsp Black pepper

1 cabbage, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

1 bottle of Guinness Beer (you will only need ¼ – ½ of the bottle)

2 Bay Leaves

2 Tbsp Stone Ground Mustard

Mama’s Secret Sauce:

1 C brown sugar

4 Tbsp yellow mustard

2 Tbsp ground cloves

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Preheat your oven to 325°

First, layer your chopped onion, carrots, and celery at the bottom of a roasting pan. I am in love with mine by Nordic Ware.

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Next, set aside your pan of vegetables and unwrap your brisket. Save the spice packet that comes with it. Place the meat directly on top of your veggies. Empty the contents of the spice packet over the top of your brisket as well as some additional black pepper. Don’t forget to place your bay leaves in the pan as well.

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For the next step, my instructions will be different than the pictures you are about to see (because sometimes you are writing a blog post realizing there was a better way to do this part). Originally, I dusted the brisket with my ground cloves, drizzled the mustard, then sprinkled my brown sugar over the top. I would suggest instead, that you mix all three secret sauce ingredients in a small bowl then rub it over the top of your brisket.

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Cover your pan with heavy aluminum foil and cook for 2 ½ hours, then uncover and continue baking another ½ hour. Check the meat by poking it with a fork. If it goes in with ease, congrats, it’s ready! If it still seems tough, let that bad boy continue cooking in half hour increments. Once the brisket is finally tender, go ahead and take it out of the oven. While the pan is still hot, go ahead and deglaze the pan with the Guinness, tossing the veggies in the liquid at the bottom of the pan.

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While the brisket has been in the oven, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, drop in your potatoes. After they feel fork tender, add your cabbage to the pot. It won’t take long for the cabbage to soften as well. Once soft, drain all the contents of the pot, then transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add the stone ground mustard (I said 2 Tbsp, but if you like little more flavor, go a head and add more) and toss the potato/ cabbage mixture till the mustard is incorporated.

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Back to the brisket, now that your pan is deglazed, take half of your potato and cabbage mixture and add it to the veggies in the bottom of your pan. Toss it until all the veggies feel coated in the liquid at the bottom of the pan.

 

Now prepare your platter.

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I added the remaining mustardy potato and cabbage mixture to the bottom. Sort of the “bed” for the brisket.

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Then I transferred the meat to the center of the dish. Finally, I framed it all with the veggies from the pan. The result…

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What a beauty!

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