As we celebrate everything Irish(okay, yes, mostly beer for those of us outside of Ireland) on St. Patrick's Day, there's a more dignified way to keep the traditions alive year-round. This dish will take up to a week to prepare, if you can wait that long — just think of the surprised faces when you say brunch is at your place and bust out some serious homemade cooking.
The secret to keeping the brisket's rosy color is the special salt. Pink Salt #1 can be found at specialty stores and is a combination of table salt and a small amount of sodium nitrite. This helps in the curing process also gives the corned beef its distinct pink hue. If you can't find any pink salt, your corned beef will still taste delicious, it'll just have a grayer color.
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1 beef brisket, about 5 lbs.
6 bottles Samuel Adam Boston Lager or Irish Red
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup kosher salt
¾ cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp mustard seed
8 allspice berries
8 juniper berries
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp pink salt
2 trays ice, about 2 quarts
Directions: Pour the Samuel Adams beer into a stockpot, and add all ingredients except for the ice, beef brisket, and half of the carrots and onions. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and add the ice.
Place brisket in a sealable container large enough to hold both the meat and liquid, and pour the liquid over the meat. If possible, place an inverted plate on top of the meat to keep it fully submerged in liquid, and seal the container. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and up to 7 days, flipping the meat daily to ensure even brining. Remove the brisket from the brine, and strain, reserving spices.
Place the brisket in a large braising pan or pot and add the reserved spices along with the remaining carrots and onion. Cover with water (or better yet, more Sam Adams!), bring to a simmer, and cook until tender. (Serves 4-6)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium-sized head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups Samuel Adams Boston Lager or Irish Red
1 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and when hot, cook the garlic for about 1 minute or until softened. Take care the garlic does not burn. Add the cabbage to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, or until it begins to wilt. Add the beer and cook for about 5 minutes to give the beer time to reduce. Add the chicken stock and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Serves 4)
Eva Kis is on Twitter@thisiskis, where she talks about pop culture, cats and media almost as much as food.