Monday, March 19, 2012

Where's the Beef?

It's drunk!  Who isn't drunk on St. Patrick's Day?

The perfect sequel to a shot of Jameson.

By now, you're all well aware of my aversion of corned beef or any type of pickling when it comes to beef.  I love beef.  Pickling seems like a ginormous waste.  

That being said, Red Beard love love LOVES corned beef and when asked, how could I say "no"?   Red Beard wants corned beef, he's going to get corned beef.  It's a similar circumstance on his birthday when he wanted banana cream pie.  He wants the devil fruit in a pie?  I'm going to make on for him.  In both scenarios, don't expect ME to eat it.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes ever.  No technique or cooking skills required.  For those of you who share my views on pickled beef, this comes out a lot mellower than most corned beef does.  

Ingredients include:
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots (you don't even need to peel them!)
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • Herbes de Provence (I warned you, this stuff is magical!)
  • Salt (Kosher or Sea)
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 bottle of Guiness (actually, buy a 6-pack, then you'll have plenty for drinking)
And of course, one of these:

Pre-Brined.  If you want to do your own, check out Alton Brown over @ Food Network.

I found a corned beef brisket that was just over 3 pounds and it easily fed 6 people.  You know, as a benchmark.  Six people not including me or Mean Mommy (because she hates it too).

Wash and roughly chop the celery, carrots and onion. Arrange them in the bottom of a large baking dish (one that is big enough for the brisket too).  You may want to spray your pan first with your handy-dandy pan spray (we love Pam!).  On top of the vegetables, place the corned beef brisket fat-side-up. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross-hatch pattern into the top of the fat layer. 

No knife skills required.

Chop the garlic and rub it into the top of the meat (try to get some into the cuts on the fat). Tear up the herbs (rosemary and thyme), and sprinkle some on top of the meat and just chuck the rest into the pan.   If the corned beef you bought comes with a spice packet, spread that around too.  Season the beef well with herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and crack open a Guinness for yourself to pour in with the beef.
Bake, covered, at 350ºF, for 3 hours. Add the second bottle of Guinness and continue to cook for another 3 hours.

Voila!  All done!  

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

This corned beef comes out fork-tender and very flavorful.   If you're doing mashers and gravy, strain the bits out of the liquid and heat in a pot with about 1 cup of beef stock and a splash of red wine - taste to adjust the seasonings - and thicken with a corn starch/cold water slurry.  That's it!  See, super easy!

Two things to keep in mind:
*** The vegetables are used for flavoring, NOT to serve with the meat—they are too mushy and soak up the more bitter flavors from the beer.  Pitch them.  Trust the French on this (because they do know how to cook), mirepoix has a very specific purpose and sometimes doesn't make it into the final dish.

***The corned beef can be made up to 2 days in advance, if wrapped well and stored in the fridge. Not only does this save you time later (especially if you’re trying to have corned beef for dinner after working all day), but it also gives you a chance to chill the liquid down and pull the fat off (the fat floats to the top and solidifies). The beef was super easy to thinly slice when it was cold; once sliced, place in an oven-safe serving dish with a ladle of the liquid, cover, and bake until hot (approximately 30 minutes) at 300ºF.

Recipe is ready to print over at Tasty Kitchen!


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