Tag Archives: Corned

By request: Beer Braised Corned Beef Brisket & Cabbage

I was asked to settle a debate this week and while I’m uncertain whether it was my food knowledge, my part Irish heritage, or simply my well known penchant for eating food that led them to me, I was more than happy to throw in my two cents. The question was “Is corned beef really Irish?” In fact, I told them, it is Irish but the tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St Patty’s day is uniquely American.

Historically corned beef (named so because the salt used in the process resembled corn kernels) or salt cured beef was an export of Ireland but rarely ever was it eaten by the locals. In those days Beef was generally too expensive for the common people and a dish of boiled “bacon” and cabbage was much more customary. What they called “bacon” was pretty much any part of the pig, other than the ham, that contained a joint…typically what we know as the shoulder or the loin.

Later, when Irish immigrants came to America, beef was actually far more available than pork so they “corned” the beef and cooked it with cabbage in an effort to replicate their comfort food from back home. Loosely, this is assumed to be the origin of the wholly American tradition of corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Interestingly, to this day, corned beef and cabbage in Ireland is generally reserved for the tourists!

For a great read on the subject check out Europeancuisines.com .

Through the years I tried every method known to man for preparing corned beef including boiling, stove-top braising, baking and most recently sous vide. For depth of flavor and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, this slow oven braise remains my go-to recipe for corned beef. Make enough for leftovers because the sandwiches are awesome and the chopped meat makes for an incredible corned beef hash!

Beer Braised Corned Beef Brisket & Cabbage

1 – 3 to 4 pound First cut corned beef (**See note)
1 or 2 cans – Guinness draft
10 to 12 – Mixed peppercorns (pink, green, black, etc…)
6 to 8 – Cloves of garlic, smashed
4 to 6 – Allspice berries
2 to 3 – Bay leaves
1 to 2 – Star anise pods

Note: Reserve vegetables for later. These can be added and cooked with the roast for the final hour of cooking or boiled in the pot juices while the roast  rests.

1 Head – Green or Napa cabbage, quartered
3 to 4 Large, or 4 to 6 Med – Red bliss potatoes
2 Med – White onions, halved

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the corned beef from its packaging and rinse in cold water while rubbing with your hands to remove any scum left over from the brine. Place the roast, fatty side up, in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (or a pot with a tight fitting lid) and pour in enough beer to come about 1/3 of the way up the sides, sliding the roast around a little to get some liquid underneath. Add the remaining ingredients, distributing them evenly around the beef (if your roast is larger add more / if it is smaller add less of the spice).

Note: If your Corned Beef comes with a spice packet add that too…flavor is flavor!

On your stovetop over medium heat, bring the beer to a gentle boil then cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil placing the Dutch oven lid on top of that for a nice firm seal. Place the whole thing in the oven and roast, without peeking for 3 – ½ to 4 hours again depending on the size. The beef should be very tender after 4 hours…if not put it back in the oven and check it every 30 minutes until it is very tender.

Remove the corned beef and wrap it in the foil to rest. Meanwhile, place quartered cabbage (cut side down), red bliss potatoes, and white onion halves in the cooking liquid, return to a boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes while the Corned Beef is resting. After 15 to 20 minutes of rest, slice the Corned Beef, across the grain and serve with vegetables and your favorite Dijon Mustard.

**Note: Corned beef is generally sold as Whole Brisket, Half Brisket – First Cut (or Flat), or Half Brisket – Point Cut. The first cut (or Flat) is my favorite. This cut comes from the wide flat half of the whole brisket with the Point Cut coming from the thicker, fattier end of the Brisket. The First Cut is generally leaner and more suitable for the dinner plate. The Point Cut is “generally” fattier and more suitable for sandwiches. Hence, most of the time when you see a sale on corned beef it will be the Point Cut. Do yourself a favor and stick with the First Cut.



Weeknight Corned Beef Hash


My mom used to make corned beef hash with poached eggs every now and then, always for supper. It was one of my favorite things in the world and to this day it is most definitely comfort food! I’m also fairly certain  that she is responsible for my current fondness for breakfast at dinnertime. This past weekend, not long after the corned beef brisket went into the oven and the house began to fill with that familiar aroma, my thoughts were again with her. I daydreamed of those evenings long past when I would rub my hands in anticipation of her wonderful meals.

As my sister and I were growing up mom cooked with love and she cooked with flavor and even though it was always with a nod to a tight budget, holy cow was it ever good! It is interesting to me how many of my current favorite dishes, and many that you’ll now see celebrity chefs cooking on TV, have their roots in such simple budget cooking.

Was the food of our youth so good because of the long cooking necessary to make the tougher cuts palatable?  Are the flavors that developed out of these techniques what makes meat loaves, chicken pot pies, stews and braises so popular even today? Or is it that these foods were prepared with so much love by so many of our moms that it touches our souls even today?

The brisket last Sunday was a small one and though I do love leftover corned beef on rye, I squirreled the leftovers away because there was just enough for a batch of my weeknight corned beef hash. This is a simple, peasant style recipe that I can make no claim to as it has been cooked for so long by so many. I only wish my mom lived a little closer so that I could have shared it with her.

Notes: It is not necessary to use leftover vegetables. If you do use fresh, pre-cook the potatoes by blanching the cubed potatoes until tender then drain and gently pat them dry. (Remember…the dryer you get them the better because moisture inhibits browning!) Optionally you may also use 1 cup of the leftover cabbage. Be sure to take a look at this Poached Egg video for a really simple way to poach an egg.

Weeknight Corned Beef Hash

2 Cups – Leftover Corned Beef Brisket, cubed, shredded, or chopped
2 Cups – Leftover cooked red bliss potatoes, cut in ¼” cubes
1-1/2 – Leftover cooked onions, cut in ¼ to ½ inch dice
1 Clove – Garlic, minced
¼ Tbsp. – Dried thyme
¼ Tbsp. – Fresh ground black pepper
1 Sprig – Fresh rosemary
1 Poached Egg per serving
Olive Oil

Warm 2 tablespoons of oil In a large pan over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering add the garlic, thyme, and black pepper and cook stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions have just begun to brown.

Stir in the potatoes and lower the heat to medium. When potatoes are hot; stir in the corned beef and the rosemary. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until potatoes and beef have browned and formed a desirable crust, about 10 minutes more. Remove the rosemary and discard before serving.

Serve topped with a freshly poached egg.