Corned Beef and Cabbage - serves 4
1 3 pound corned-beef brisket, in plastic pouch with brine and spices
3 whole cloves
2 Turkish bay leaves
1 chili de arbol
5 small rutabagas
1 large russet potato
1 medium green cabbage.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Place corned beef, brine and spices in a large Dutch oven or deep pot and put enough water in the pot so that 4 inches of water is over the top of the meat. Bring to a boil, skimming the surface to get rid of any froth.
Cut an onion in half lengthwise, peel and stick cloves into each half.
When the water comes to a boil, continue skimming to remove as much debris as possible. Add the onion, bay leaves and chile de arbol to the pot. Cover pot tightly with aluminum foil and tight fitting lid.
Place covered pot in oven and braise for about 3 hours, or until a fork easily pierces the meat. Carefully remove the foil taking care not to bend over the pot as steam will escape in a rush and you don't want to burn your face.
A half hour before the meat is done, peel the carrots and cut in half lengthwise. Peel the rutabagas and potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
Remove the tough outer leaves of cabbage and cut head in half, top to bottom, through the core. Cut each half into 3 wedges, through the core.
With large tongs, remove brisket to a platter, covered with foil to keep warm.
Bring the broth to a boil and then place cabbage, carrots, rutabaga and potatoes in pot. Add enough water to cover above the vegetables by an inch. Place cover on pot and leave about a 1/2 inch opening for steam to escape. (Again, please remember not to bend over pot when you remove the cover later.) Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook vegetables for about 15 minutes or until very tender. Test and remove to platter if one is done before the others.
Remove vegetables to a warmed platter. Place brisket back in the broth to reheat, then remove to a cutting board to slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Place slices on a platter with the vegetables for serving.
Pour broth through your finest sieve into saucepan to remove all particles. Pour enough broth over beef and vegetables to suit your taste. Serve in flat soup bowls, passing extra broth at the table.
Irish Soda Bread - makes 1 loaf
This recipe also comes from Lynne's blog and you can see it here.
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold salted butter, in thin slices
1 cup raisins
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.
In large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course meal. Stir in raisins.
Make a well in flour mixture and pour in beaten egg and buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon until all flour is incorporated into the buttermilk.
Liberally dust work surface with flour. Transfer dough to surface and sprinkle with flour. With flour dusted hands, form the dough into into a ball that is relatively smooth.
Place baking sheet next to the dough work surface and place dough ball on sheet. Dough is very soft so use hands to scoop up and surround ball to transfer to the sheet.
Using a serrated knife, score top of dough with an x-shape, half an inch deep.
Bake about 40 minutes or until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with a knife.
Transfer bread to rack to let cool briefly. Serve bread warm or at room temperature, with lots of lovely butter. To stay in with the Irish theme I use Kerrigold (an Irish butter) because I grew up on it and love its taste, but obviously any butter of choice would do.
There will be left-overs and I am thinking it would a) make great toast or b) great French toast.
What did we think of these recipes?
First I'll talk about the Corned Beef and Cabbage. Gregg gave this dish a 10 out of 10, so thank you Lynne of Cook and Be Merry. I have never seen this recipe with a hot pepper included but as Gregg likes a bit of a kick in his meals and it was his special meal, I looked for something a little different. When I saw that hot pepper added, I put on my kitchen gloves along with my.....
and went for it. I had no problems this time.
Hot peppers and I have a history as I am hyper-sensitive to them. I ended up bathing my face in a bowlful of milk the one and only time I ever cooked with them. Even with multiple washings of hands I still managed to inflame my eyes a couple of hours later by inadvertently rubbing them, and my forehead which felt like it was on fire until the next day. I learned a valuable lesson, kind of steered clear for a long time and Gregg was a peach for doing this task for me if we needed any chopped up for a a dish I was trying. After that first session I think I would have won the dunking for apples contest at the next Halloween Party. I stuck my face in that milk for so long I was in danger of needing a snorkelling mask
I couldn't find the chili de arbol, and as I don't really know a lot about peppers - surprise! - saw the jalapenos in the store and that's what I used. I deseeded it because I wasn't sure how hot it would actually be and I aired on the side of caution. As it turned out it wasn't that hot, and next time I will probably try leaving half the seeds in, or maybe a quarter, or maybe an eighth. I think you get the picture.
I also did not know where to find Turkish Bay leaves and used my regular kind.
Irish Soda Bread, a great accompaniment to the above. I had never made this before either, and was surprised at how soft the dough was. You really do need to flour your hands really well, and also have that board next to the prepared pan to transfer it, as Lynne mentioned in her recipe. I had to finagle the dough mixture a bit as mine turned out real sticky. I think it was because when I cut in the butter I couldn't get it to look like coarse meal, so I added three extra tablespoons of butter. I don't think I needed that at all. However, after adding a little more flour it was fine, and I was delighted when it turned out looking just like it should.
And yes, we have leftovers, lots of leftovers.
Now please excuse me while I go back into the kitchen to make the Birthday Boy his favorite dessert, dah-dahhhhh, Tapioca Pudding. I could have made a cake which he would also enjoy, but if I really want to make him smile I need only to make him this simple dessert. I just need to figure out how to put a candle in it before it sinks below the surface.
Added note: I almost had a gliche with the pudding, I couldn't find the best ingredient, vanilla extract. After turning out two shelves in the pantry I found a small bottle tucked way at the back. Safe! Gregg has already polished off his pudding. He says it is like a horse with his oats, he just can't quit. And that's why I don't make it that often, it's just too darned good if your name is Gregg.