"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!