I am looking for ideas for cooking a corned beef.
By C.L.C. from Kansas City, MO
Do you want to corn it yourself or just buy one of those already seasoned ones in the meat case or a canned corned beef? My recommendation, which is what I do every St Patrick's day, is to corn it yourself. It's very easy and may come out cheaper if you have the time and items on hand.
You need a brisket, if you get a whole one, cut it in half against the grain. The grain runs the length of the piece of meat.
two (if you are doing a whole brisket) gallon size freezer bags.
pickling spice (I could list off all of the spices you need but everything you need is in that one jar. You find it in the spice/baking isle around the canning supplies)
6 bay leaves
fresh marjoram and thyme (which I have left out when I didn't have it)
a pan or casserole dish
Clean off the brisket and trim the silver skin and some (not all) of the fat from the meat. Cut the piece in to two pieces against the grain. Set those aside.
In each of the freezer bags, put in 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of the pickling spice, 3 bay leaves, and a few sprigs each of the marjoram and thyme. Mix the contents of the bags and then place one piece of meat in each of the bags. Seal the bag and rub the spice mixture into the meat. Reopen the bags and fill with enough water that the meat is covered when you lay the bag on its side (sealed).
Make sure that bags are very well sealed and lay them in your pan or casserole dish, on their sides, and place in the fridge for 7-10 days.
Once a day during that time, you will take the bags out, give them and toss and place them back in the fridge, flipped (so that the side of the meat that was up, is now down). You will notice that the meat will start to feel firmer than when you purchased it. Also, it will take on a slightly grayish color. Don't worry, no germs can grow in that brine.
When you're ready to cook them. Take them out of the bags and give the meat a very good rinsing. You could even soak them in fresh cold water for a few hours to get the salt out.
You will need something pretty big and with a lid to cook them. I have cooked mine in my turkey roasting pan. You know, the green one that you have that you one use once or twice a year. Place some coarsely chopped carrots, onions and celery (parsnips and turnips are also awesome for this) in the bottom of the pan and then place the meat on top of them. Put enough water in the pan to cover the meat. Cook at 350-375F for about 3-4 hours. After that, quarter a head of cabbage (leave the core intact), and whole small red skin potatoes. Cook for another 2 hours or until the cabbage and potatoes are done and the meat is very tender. I mean tender like it pretty much falls apart.
Slice very thin and serve in bowls with the veggies from the pan. I use all of them, even the carrots and other root veggies that I started with. That are so yummy. Ladle a bit of the pan juice over top and serve with a good loaf of crusty bread for dipping.
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