Monday, March 16, 2009

The Perfect Corned Beef and Cabbage

Many people do not find corned beef and cabbage very appealing. That's because most people (and most bars) boil the corned beef and vegetables together, resulting in a greasy, unappealing mess. Remember, it is still a brisket, so you want to treat it as such. Imagine throwing a big T-bone into a boiling pot of water; it would taste like crap too. The secret is to cook the corned beef in the oven, and to cook the vegetables separately. That keeps them from becoming greasy.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 3-pound corned beef brisket
1/2 onion, sliced
4 whole carrots
6 to 8 boiling (White Rose) potatoes
1/2 cabbage, or whole head of cabbage
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Trim excess fat from corned beef. Stab it all over with a sharp knife. Set in roasting pan. Cover with sliced onion. Pour in 2 or 3 cups of water and sprinkle with the seasoning packet. Cover pan tightly with foil and put in oven.

Cook for at least 3 hours. Check occasionally to see if it needs more water so it doesn't go dry. You want the meat to be flaking apart.

About an hour before the brisket is done, bring 2 pots of water to a simmer on top of the stove.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes, and slice in half if large. Peel carrots and slice into 2" or 3" pieces. Put potatoes and carrots into one of the pots of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer til done. Don't overdo the potatoes or they will fall apart. Drain, then toss with butter to taste. Sprinkle with parsley to taste if you feel like it.

30 minutes after starting the potatoes and carrots, rinse cabbage. Remove outer leaves of cabbage. Cut off the bottom, and it should break off into leaves. Put the cabbage in the other pot of water. Cook, at a simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain. Change out the water for fresh water. It takes away some of the intensity, and some say gassiness. Return pot to a simmer and cook til done, about 15 more minutes.

Arrange slices of corned beef on plate, along with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

If you have time to cool the brisket, slice across the grain and reheat for perfect slices.

If you are really into the flavor of cabbage, you can cook it with the potatoes.

If you are into the potatoes or cabbage having some of the corned beef flavor, you can add some of the water from the pan in the oven to the vegetables as they cook.

If you must boil it or use a crockpot, start the corned beef first. Change out the water for fresh water to remove some of the greasiness halfway through cooking. Wait to add vegetables about an hour before serving.

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