When Irish Eyes are Smilin’
…. and when Irish tummies are growling, it’s time to get in the kitchen, gather your pals and pour a wee bit of Irish whiskey while you sit down to a feast. When you slow cook brisket, you can serve it with any starch. I think it tastes wonderful ladled over saucy egg noodles, or given the Irish treatment for a traditional St. Patty’s Day feast.
Speaking of which…I remember attending an Irish party at a friend’s home several years ago. She made traditional corn beef and cabbage using several slow cookers that she set up in her garage; she did so on account of the cabbage smelling, well, like cabbage! Cooking cabbage all day long has a distinctly pungent aroma, one you might not want wafting through your kitchen!
I created my corn beef and cabbage recipe (for my book Sunday Best Dishes) with an upscale spin and a definite nod toward a more fragrant experience. The corn beef is cooked in a slow cooker, with root veggies that are emulsified into a luxurious puree. I sauté the cabbage with onions and bacon, and, viola, no more odiferous cabbage! To pull it all together, I top the dish with a yummy, tart horseradish and mustard sauce.
Eyes, tummies and everything else are smilin’ when this meal is served!
Slow Cooker Corned Beef
with Root Veggie Puree and Sautéed Cabbage
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
You needn’t wait for Saint Patrick’s Day to celebrate this dish. Purchase a brisket that has been cured (or add the extra step of curing it yourself). Slowly braise it in beer. Finish with a traditional sauté of cabbage and serve with a piquant, mustardy sauce.
For Corned Beef and Veggie Puree:
1 (4 pound) raw corned beef brisket
2 (12-ounce) bottles dark beer
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
6 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium rutabagas, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 small white onions, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Place the corned beef into the slow cooker. Cover with beer. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and mustard seeds. Cook on high for 7 to 8 hours. During the last 2 hours of cooking, add the veggies to the slow cooker. Cook until the veggies are fork-tender.
Transfer the cabbage to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables from the slow cooker to the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse to puree. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ pound bacon, about 4 to 5 slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium head Savoy cabbage, cut into 2-inch slices
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Cook the bacon in the pan until browned and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and place onto paper toweling to drain. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage to the pan and cook until just soft, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Transfer the cabbage to a bowl. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle on top of the cabbage. Keep warm.
2 tablespoons horseradish
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Whisk together the horseradish, sour cream and mustard. You can add a spoonful or two of the corn beef cooking liquid to thin and add flavor to the sauce.
Cut the corn beef, across the grain, into thin slices. Place a generous spoonful of puree onto a plate. Top with a spoonful of sautéed cabbage. Lay slices of corned beef on top. Dollop with a tablespoon of sauce.