Corned Beef 2 – St. Patty’s is Here!

So it’s time to finish up our corned beef that we started up a week ago! This really is a fabulously simple dish when you think about it. We put the beef in a brine for 5 days (yes, I took mine out two days ago, and it’s been sitting in the fridge patiently since…) and then you boil it for a few hours. While the total “cooking time” is a minimum of 124 hours, the “active time” really is no more than 30 minutes! (Rachel Ray would be proud…)

So here we go people – time to finish up our corned beef in time for St. Patty’s Day dinner.


Same piece of meat, but after 5 days in the brine I mentioned before. I’ve taken it out of the brine, rinsed it, and washed off any peppercorns or mustard seeds or what have you sticking to it. Yes, it’s a lot more gray in color, but the aroma of this meat is just impossible to describe. It’s just fabulous as all the wonderful herbs and spices have really gone deep into the meat. For this moment alone, it’s worth making your own homemade corned beef!

Now in the water which this beef will cook, I want to keep up the flavors that I’ve already infused into the meat. I don’t want the water stealing them all away. But by the same token, I don’t want to be picking peppercorns off my final cooked piece of meat. So I’m wrapping my herbs and spices in a cheesecloth sachet. In here I put:

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp green peppercorns
  • 1 piece mace
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard seeds

If you want to throw in a clove or two of garlic here, feel free.

It’s time to get cooking! Submerge the beef in enough water to cover, add the sachet, and bring to a boil. There’s no need to add any salt, the beef will release salt that is inside of it into the water, and that will help to season the vegetables. Once at a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 3-3.5 hours (flipping the meat every half hour) until it’s really tender. Note though that these long muscle fibers in the brisket will really tighten up when cooked, so the meat will swell – and this may “lift” the meat out of the water. Keep adding water to make sure the beef is fully submerged, but just barely. (You’ll need this extra water to cook the vegetables anyway…)

What a great segue! Let’s talk veg! We of course need cabbage, so I have half a fresh cabbage cut into 6 wedges. I washed and diced a nice russet potato (don’t peel it though, let’s keep this looking good) and peeled and halved two onions. I then threw in a nice large handful of baby carrots. Everything but the cabbage will go in after the beef has been cooking for 3-3.5 hours. They’ll all simmer for 15 minutes, and then the cabbage will follow them into the pot. 10 more minutes, and we should be done! (Test and make sure the potatoes and carrots are tender…)

We need sauce as well. While thousand island dressing is great for corned beef sandwiches, when we’re eating it hot with veg, we want horseradish! So here’s a great, simple horseradish sauce you can whip up whenever you like during the cooking process:

  • 3 Tbsp horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp mayo
  • 1/2 tsp seeded Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Just mix it all together, and you’re good to go.

When the beef is super tender, and the veg are all cooked, it’s time to eat. Take out the meat, slice it thin, serve it with a good side of all the vegetables and a nice dollop of the horseradish sauce. Of course, you’ll want to accompany this with a nice tall pint of Harp or Guinness. (None of that hideous green beer please. We’ve worked too hard!)

Happy St. Patrick’s everybody! I hope this recipe works for you in the years to come, and don’t forget – any leftover corned beef is just spectacular in Rubens!

Chef Matt

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One Response to “Corned Beef 2 – St. Patty’s is Here!”

  1. Swan says:

    What–no “Corned Beef 2: Electric Boogaloo”?!?!