Corned Beef and Colcannon

12 Mar

This weekend was the first “official” road race of the spring running season up here in New England, the St. Paddy’s Five Miler, in Portsmouth, NH, where your’s truly ran an uninspired 45:30… One can almost smell spring in the air and with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought it was time to post my first Irish recipe. Here in America, when we think of St. Patrick’s Day, we think of parades, Guinness, and Corned Beef and Cabbage.Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

So what does corned beef have to do with MexItalian cuisine? Well, absolutely nothing, but I have always wanted to “corn” my own beef.  Now, the process of “corning” beef refers to the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt and without going into the menusha of wet-cured meats, gives the cheaper, tougher cut of brisket suppleness and tenderness. There are several advantages to corning your own beef. The first being that is so extraordinarily simple, why would you not do it yourself. Another reason is that you are in complete control the ingredients that you are using in the curing process and you have ownership of the flavors and nutritional value of the finished product. I am specifically talking about the use of sodium nitrite, or Pink Salt. There have been numerous studies on the use and consumption of nitrites, but to make it simple, I tend to shy away from any food additive that is lethal to humans in larger quantities. One only needs a few simple ingredients, a corning technique, and 5 days (it takes 5 days to cure the beef prior to cooking so start NOW!).

For my St. Patrick’s Day feast I decided to serve my home cured corned beef not simply with the traditional cabbage and potato, but with another dish that combines both the cabbage AND the potato; Colcannon! For those of you who have never heard of, or eaten colcannon, it is another delicious traditional Irish dish that is made by combining mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale.Colcannon

So now that I had my menu, I started by putting my meat to brine on Tuesday morning so that it would be ready for my post-race Sunday meal. I submerged the brisket in a stockpot and made some room for it on the top rack of my refrigerator and turned the brisket each night. On Sunday I simply rinsed the brisket, placed it in another stockpot, covered it with water, added a bit more pickling spice, and simmered the brisket for 3 1/2 hours. I then added the potatoes to the pot and cooked them WITH the beef in the same broth, I think that this really brings both dishes together!

As I always say, if it is worth eating, then it is worth doing right! Forget that packaged corned beef loaded with cancerous nitrites. This corned beef is made from 100% grass-feed beef, crystal clear spring water, and hand toasted pickling spices. Serve that up with a hearty serving of colcannon and you can have a St. Patrick’s Day feast you can be proud to serve!

What is your St. Patrick’s day meal? If you are Irish, what are your traditions?

Home-Cured Corned Beef

(Adapted from Micheal Ruhlman’s Corned Beef : How to Cure Your Own)

  • 1 5-pound beef brisket
  • 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice (see below)
  • 1 tsp pulverized celery seed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
  1. In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the pickling spice and the crushed celery seed.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.
  5. Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly.
  6. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrot, onion.
  7. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3.5 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.
Corned Beef and Colcannon

Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

Pickling Spice

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger.
  1. Combine peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan.
  2. Place over medium heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
  3. Crack peppercorns and seeds in a molcajete (mortar and pestal!) I knew I could add a Mexican twist to this!!
  4. Combine with other spices, mix and put in a tightly sealed plastic or glass container.

 

Colcannon

  • 8 large red potatoes
  • 1 head of Savoy Cabbage chopped
  • 6 scallions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Fat-Free   milk
  • 2/3 cups Fat-Free Sour Cream
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  1. Peel the potatoes rather lightly, it is ok to leave some of the skin on.
  2. Quarter them and place them in the stockpot cooking with the corned beef. Cook until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large sautee pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the butter.
  4. When all the butter is melted, add the cabbage and sautee until just wilting and then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until tender about 8 minutes, stirring often. (Take special care not to burn the cabbage). Turn off the heat and cover.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the stockpot with a slotted spoon and drain them well in a colander.
  6. Combine the milk and the sour cream in a bowl by simply whisking in the sour cream.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes well, combining the remaining butter and the milk and cream mixture. Continue to mash and stir until you get the desired texture that you like. (I like them a bit rustic and lumpy)
  8. Fold in the cabbage and add the scallions.
  9. Serve with the corned beef and a pint of Guiness!
Colcannon

Colcannon

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13 Responses to “Corned Beef and Colcannon”

  1. Christina @ Salt Pepper Brilliant March 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Looks delicious I will definitely give your recipe a try. Stop by and say hi 🙂

    • cjdelgrosso March 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Thank you for the nice comment. I will definitely visit your blog.

  2. delicio8 March 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Oh no! I just bought a packaged corn beef brisket thingy yesterday!!!! Well, I guess there’s next year. I didn’t even think about it being close to St. Patrick’s day. That’s why there was corned beef makings! Duh. I’ll try the colcannon though, never heard of that. Your corned beef recipe sounds absolutely divine.

  3. heather March 13, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Chris, this looks so good! I’m sorry we didn’t get to do a video on it, but I’m starting to brine my beef today. Congratulations on the run, and I’ll see you in a week or so.

    • cjdelgrosso March 13, 2012 at 2:58 am #

      Thanks for stopping by Heather! I am honored. I am really looking forward to the 28th!

  4. sugaredpecan March 13, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    I am impressed with corning your own beef and this dish looks soooo good! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jay March 13, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    I was fortunate enough to get a taste of the corned beef and it was DELICIOUS! The hint of cinnamon was a subtle touch that went over very well. I’m ready for a Rueben sandwich! Thanks you, Chris!

  6. Kiri W. March 14, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    Mmm, love the colcannon recipe! I miss Ireland, and this sounds like a fantastic recipe.

    • cjdelgrosso March 14, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Thanks Kiri, I have never been there, I hear it is a wonderful place! I like that I boiled the potatoes in the same liquid as the corned beef cooked, it really tied the whole dish together!

  7. astoolatthecounter March 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Awesome! I was asking on my blog how you did your corned beef. Then when I ventured over to your site, I think I literally said out loud, “Oh!” Very cool recipe. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • cjdelgrosso March 15, 2012 at 2:14 am #

      Your welcome! Thank you for the visit!

  8. ediblesubstance March 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Yum this looks really delicious! 🙂

    • cjdelgrosso March 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Thank you! I loved it! I almost ate the whole brisket myself.

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