St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, are you ready? You won’t need the luck of the Irish on your side if you’re looking to craft an epic meal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. What might that meal be? Corned beef and cabbage, of course. In this blog we’ll give you some expert tips for the ultimate corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. Most of these tips come from the advice of Darina Allen, a cookbook author who is considered Ireland’s best cooking authority, except where noted.
First Things First: Choosing the Right Beef
You’ll want to get meat that’s labeled as ready-to-cook. Avoid getting precooked meat. Look for meat that is nicely firm but also not too brightly pink. Too brightly pink means that it is full of nitrates. The easiest to find cut of meat is going to be brisket. Brisket is the most plentiful at grocery stores. Go for flat-cut brisket if you can, as it is leaner and healthier.
Want to Corn Your Own Beef?
At the store or from the butcher, corned beef is easy enough to get. Corned beef becomes especially plentiful as St. Patrick’s Day nears. But did you know it is just as easy to cure yourself? You can corn your own beef. Jason Fahey, the chef at Ballymaloe House in County Cork, gives the following directions:
- Place two pounds of salt inside a twenty-pint bucket.
- Then fill the bucket two-thirds of the way with cold water. You should aim for seven quarts of water.
- After the salt has dissolved, put a 4.5-5 pound piece of meat inside the bucket. Weigh down the meat with a heavy platter if you need to do so.
- Refrigerate and soak for the next 24-36 hours. Don’t leave it in the refrigerator for more than 48 hours, though.
- Remove and cook to a recipe, maybe even this one! Don’t worry about rinsing the meat off before cooking it. You don’t need to, in this case.
A Time to Cook
Use large pieces of carrots, onions, and cabbage to prevent them turning into mush. Keep the meat covered in water and add more hot water if you need to as well. Boil some potatoes in their own skins. Also consider mashed potatoes with champ (that is, scallions, milk, and butter.) Serve the veggies with the meat.
Is It Ready Yet?
Use a skewer or a carving fork to help tell when the meat is done. The skewer should come right out when it is ready. Serve, enjoy, and don’t forget the mustard and some good Irish stout!
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