Corned Beef and Cabbage

I know, this is totally uncharacteristic of me, isn't it.  I mean like how I'm getting this to you BEFORE St. Patrick's Day.  Not usually this organized and intentional, but this year, I was determined to get this recipe to you in time so you could actually make it.  It really is a good one.

The backstory (cuz there always seems to be one) takes place five years ago when grandson Emmett was born.  I went to Colorado to help the new parents get through the first few weeks of sleeplessness, and St. Patrick's Day fell in the middle of my stay.  I whipped out my all time favorite recipe and made corned beef and cabbage for everyone.  And oh, man, it was so much fun and so good and we've been talking about it every year since.  Fast forward five years and little Emmett is now 5 (Happy Birthday, big guy!!) and thinking about kindergarten and we're way overdue to re-live that very special evening when Emmett was only a few days old.  Which is exactly what we did this weekend.

And it was just as good as we remembered.  Possibly, maybe even better.  This is how to cook corned beef... ignore whatever the instructions on the package might tell you because you do not want to boil this cured brisket in water.  No, it is begging for beer, people.  Lots and lots of beer. Well, you will need 2 beers; one a Guinness, and the other whatever you've got.  Or go all out and use 2 Guinness.  This is no time for fear.  

I've no clue what beer does to the meat, beyond tenderizing and moisturizing and creating something a bit magical and oh so delicious.  I just know that this is an awesome way to cook up your corned beef.

I've given you step by step instructions on cooking cabbage (of course), potatoes and carrots to accompany your corned beef; it's all done in one pot which gives it just like a million bonus points, if you ask me.

Oh, and I served it with our cheesy beer scones, because more beer (and cheese), but if you prefer some Irish soda bread to go alongside instead, I'll have that recipe for you very shortly.

If what you're looking for is a fun, delicious and happy St. Paddy's Day, we may just have you covered.  Here's the recipe...

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Click here for a printable recipe

Serves 4

1 head cabbage
4-lb corned beef brisket
2-3 bay leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
4 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then into quarters
8 medium red potatoes, quartered
1 bottle Guinness beer
1 bottle regular beer
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Good quality stone ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Pour the beers into a large heavy pot (I use my heavy Le Crueset) and place the brisket into the pot.  Add water if needed to cover (just to make sure it's submerged, but no more than that), add the bay leaves and peppercorns and cover tightly. Bring to a simmer, place in the oven, and cook for 3 hours.

While the brisket is cooking, prep the veggies as noted above.  Halve the cabbage through the stem and then halve again, keeping the stem end intact.  You should have 8 cabbage slices that hold together.

After 3 hours, remove the pot from the oven and place it on top of the stove over a low flame.  Add the potatoes, cover, and let them cook for about 7 minutes.  Add the carrots, replace the lid and cook for a couple minutes before adding the cabbage on top.  Squish the lid down over the whole thing and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or so.

While the veggies are cooking, mix the melted butter and parsley together and place about half in a large-ish bowl.   Remove the potatoes from the pot and place them in the bowl with the butter and parsley.  Mix well and keep warm.  Remove the cabbage and carrots from the pot, drizzle with the remaining parsley butter and keep warm.   

Slice the meat and place in the center of a large serving platter, surrounded by mounds of the veggies.  Drizzle the meat and veggies with some of the cooking liquid from the pot.  Serve with more of the au jus and lots of stone ground mustard.