Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Boil three days in a deep kettle . . .

"Take two pounds of meat from the rump, boil three days in a deep kettle with the head of an axe, and, then, throw away the meat and eat the axe." - The WPA Guide to Utah (1941).

Corned Beef and Cabbage, more often referred to as a New England Boiled Dinner, is something we look forward to when St. Patrick's day rolls around, even if there isn't a jot of Irish blood in any of us. For years I had heard that Corned Beef and Cabbage was unknown as a dish in Ireland, but recent scholarship suggests that the Irish used corned beef as a substitute for their Irish bacon - unavailable in the United States. My lone, slim Irish Cookbook, by perhaps the most famous Irish cookbook author Darina Allen, contains a recipe calling for either corned beef or Irish bacon. She does indicate that it is rarely eaten in Ireland.

Despite the name "New England Boiled Dinner", and like many similarly named dishes, don't boil this. I gently simmer it with aromats: onion, garlic, and a some home-concocted pickling spice. After about 2.5 hours I added cabbage, and 10 minutes later potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, and parsnips. The beets were cooked separately, in salted water. It was great, but I am baking rye bread today for the Reuben I am really lusting for. I also need my annual red-flannel hash fix.

Cooks notes: I corned this beef (point cut brisket) in the Ruhlman/Polcyn liquid pickle. I have also had great success with a dry cure modified from Cook's Illustrated. I should also note that when I corn beef strictly for the purpose of creating a cold-cut, I steam the meat à la David Rosengarten, rather than simmer it. It gives a better consistency for slicing.

Oh, and there are no photos of the brining process. I have been battling pneumonia for 10 days and was barely able to through the brine together!


redman said...

did you brine this beef yourself or buy a pre-brined piece and then cook in the pickle?
asking b/c I have had tremendously poor results with brining in terms of brine not penetrating. I have tried everything: I have brine pump, I leave it in there for weeks at a time, etc.
After talking this over with BdG, who recommends brining it at higher temperature (ie, not under refrigeration but at cellar temp), perhaps the brine will penetrate.

That's my next move. curious to see if you have insight into brining.

Scotty said...

Wow, redman! I do my own, and I have never had a problem with brine cure penetration in brisket or anything else. My rig is a 2 gallon Cambro bucket and a shallow heavy bowl to hold it under. I have done pork(shoulder, loin and belly), brisket and salmon in a pickle brine. All were done in the basement fridge.

E-mail me and we'll compare notes.

ntsc said...

I've never had any trouble with bringin in a fridge either.

redman said...

yeah, not sure what I'm doing wrong, have to fill you in by email. recently did a pork leg, 13#, had it in there about 3 weeks, pumped it to the bone and everything. Brine penetrated about an inch beneath surface, nothing by bone

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -