Top of the day to you! Happy St Patrick’s Day!
There are some delicious things happening at our household today… the smells emanating from my kitchen are seriously out of this world. Would you take a look at that glistening, pull apart beef right there??
This corned brisket and cabbage recipe packs all of the deliciousness of slowly cooked brisket into a full meal that practically cooks itself – talk about a stroke of good fortune on this day of the Irish!
Now, I know that because we enjoyed this dish on St Patrick’s Day, by the time I have this post live, it is probably a little too late for you to do the same. But, the plus side is, this dish actually makes the best hangover food – so not only do we get to celebrate all thing Irish today, it’s just as good tomorrow for all those naughty little leprechauns that might be nursing sore heads. Seriously, drag yourself out of bed, put it on the stove to slow cook, Netflix and chill, then eat your heart our come dinner time. You can thank me later!
So, we aren’t even Irish. I think, there might be something like 25% on my side, but absolutely zero on my husband’s – believe it or not, his family descends from China! That being said though, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with embracing other cultures and as we are such a young family, establishing our own traditions along the way. And one of those traditions is, now, to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with food.
Enter, Irish Corned Brisket and Cabbage with Horseradish Cream.
I can remember my mum making corned beef and cabbage when I was a kid – and I will be honest when I say it never amazed me. Don’t get me wrong – there was nothing awry with my mother’s methods when it came to cooking this dish, I just found it uninspiring and couldn’t help but question why we were boiling meat while not at war. There was also the dreaded knowledge that corned beef would almost always precede deep fried corned beef fritters the next evening, made from the leftovers. Blegh! Rest assured, that recipe will never make it to this blog.
Seriously though, looking back on things now, I must say I totally underestimated the awesomeness of this dish, which is also most certainly up there as one of the easiest dinners in the world to make. I don’t know what took me so long!
Corned beef is essentially beef brisket that has been cured and brined. When cooked slowly with beautifully fragrant spices such as allspice, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander and bay leaf, it turns into something just a little bit magical. If you’ve never made corned beef before, it’s dead set easy, but also really important to keep a few things in mind. The first being, that corned beef is brisket – and brisket is a toooouuugh cut of meat unless it is properly cooked. Seriously – this dish will take you all day to cook. And again – there’s nothing wrong with that – especially when it smells so darn good.
When choosing your corned beef, remember it will shrink by about a third when cooked. I find that a 1.5kg to 2kg piece of the pre-brined variety comfortably serves four people, with plenty of handy leftovers for Reuben sandwiches… or even tacos.
Anyways, I like a corned brisket that is fall apart tender. So tender, that when cut across the grain (always across the grain), it simply falls apart. To achieve this, I make sure that there are no short cuts with the process. If it’s tough, back in the pot it goes to give it a little more time (but be aware that it will go dry if you cook it forever and a day).
I dressed this version of corned beef up to make it perfectly festive for St Patrick’s Day with an Irish stout – and I am almost positive that the beer helped with the final tenderness of the meat – not to mention the addition of some pretty cool flavour.
So I hope you enjoy this hearty dish and can really appreciate how much flavour corned beef has to offer. Allow it to rest before slicing thinly and you will end up with an Irish styled corned beef that is juicier, fork tender and more flavourful than any other you’ve had before… and the horseradish crema adds a perfect sharpness and tang that takes the whole thing to the next level.
Believe me when I say it will cure what ales ails ya!
Irish Corned Brisket and Cabbage with Horseradish Crema
- 3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 3 inch pieces
- 1 brown onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 red potatoes, quartered
- 1 corned beef brisket, approximately 1.5kg
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice (see note)
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 3 x 440ml cans Guinness stout
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ head Drumhead cabbage, cut into wedges
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish cream
In a large pot, place the onions and corned brisket, fat side up and sprinkle with pickling spice, salt and thyme.
Pour the beers over the brisket and add enough water to ensure the liquid covers the meat. Bring to a simmer before reducing the heat to low. Cover and cook on low-medium until the corned beef is tender – approximately 7 – 8 hours.
After about 4 hours, add potatoes and carrots to the pot (no earlier or they will turn to mush).
With about 45 minutes to go, arrange the cabbage wedges over the beef, cover again and continue to cook until tender.
Meanwhile, mix sour cream ad horseradish together in a separate bowl.
When ready to serve, remove the meat from the pot and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice the corned brisket against the grain (it should fall apart) and seve with the drained vegetables and horseradish sauce.
Pickling spice is available at any good Asian or Indian supermarket. It is a combination of spices such as allspice berries, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, chilli and bay leaf. You can pour the spice mix straight in to the pot or, wrap it in muslin cloth for easy removal after cooking.