Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home-Corned Beef and Cabbage, New England Style


Serves 8 with leftovers. Published March 1, 1997.

If you prefer a leaner piece of meat, feel free to use the flat cut. In fact, we found more flat cut than point cut briskets in supermarket meat cases, so you’ll probably have to ask the meat department attendant or butcher to bring you a point cut. Leave a bit of fat attached for better texture and flavor. The meat is cooked fully when it is tender, the muscle fibers have loosened visibly, and a skewer slides in with minimal resistance.

Ingredients
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns , cracked
3/4 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 bay leaves , crumbled
1 beef brisket (fresh, 4 to 6 pounds), preferably point cut, trimmed of excess fat, rinsed and patted dry
7-8 pounds vegetables , chosen from the categories below

Category 1 Vegetables
  • carrots , peeled and halved crosswise, thin end halved lengthwise, thick end quartered lengthwise
  • rutabagas (small), peeled and halved crosswise; each half cut into six chunks
  • white turnips (medium), peeled and quartered
  • new potatoes (small), scrubbed and left whole
  • boiling onions , peeled and left whole
Category 2 Vegetables
  • green cabbage (small head), uncored, blemished leaves removed, cut into six to eight wedges
  • parsnips , peeled and halved crosswise, thin end halved lengthwise, thick end quartered lengthwise
  • Brussels sprouts , blemished leaves removed and left whole
Instructions
1. Mix salt and seasonings in small bowl.

2. Spear brisket about thirty times per side with meat fork or metal skewer. Rub each side evenly with salt mixture; place in 2-gallon-size zipper-lock bag, forcing out as much air as possible. Place in pan large enough to hold it (a jelly roll pan works well), cover with second, similar-size pan, and weight with two bricks or heavy cans of similar weight. Refrigerate 5 to 7 days, turning once a day.

3. Choose 7-8 pounds of vegetables of your choice from categories 1 and 2, prepared as described in the ingredient listing.

4. Rinse the brisket and pat it dry. Bring the brisket to boil with water to cover by 1/2 to 1 inch in large soup kettle or stockpot (at least 8 quarts), skimming any scum that rises to surface. Cover and simmer until skewer inserted in thickest part of brisket slides out with ease, 2 to 3 hours.

5. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer meat to large platter, ladling about 1 cup cooking liquid over it to keep it moist. Cover with foil and set in oven.

6. Add vegetables from category 1 to kettle and bring to boil; cover and simmer until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add vegetables from category 2 and bring to boil; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

7. Meanwhile, remove meat from oven and cut across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.

8. Transfer vegetables to meat platter, moisten with additional broth, and serve.

9. Serve this dish with horseradish, either plain or mixed with whipped or sour cream, or with grainy mustard.


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