I was a vegetarian for years, but there’s something really nostalgic to me about corned beef and cabbage. When I set out to make a local, updated version I realized there’s not really much I remember about my mother’s version but the taste and smell. The appearance totally escapes me. I knew I wanted to try something new but keeping with the classic taste. I found a truly updated version from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques. This recipe braises the meat for a few hours, then poaches the vegetables in the liquid. There’s a pinch of crushed red pepper in the braising liquid and clove studded onions. There’s little to no work involved and it tastes great. The meat is browned a bit before slicing.
The first thing you might notice from the photo above is that this brisket is not the brilliant prink of typical corned beef. I brined this piece of Autumn’s Harvest brisket in a mixture of celery juice, dark beer, and pickling spice – without nitrates. You can find our brining recipe here. If you prefer, buy a pre-brined brisket for this recipe. Autumn’s Harvest will have their brisket at the Saturday Ithaca Winter Market or contact email@example.com to order. The meat cooks for 3 hours (or a bit more) and the vegetables poach in the liquid while the meat crisps up in the oven. You can dump this in the oven and come back in 2 hours to prep the veggies and get ready to finish the recipe.
One of the things I love about this recipe is the way the vegetables stay bright and the parsley brightens it up even more. The extra step of browning the meat, takes it a little bit further for me. If you prefer, you can just add the vegetables to the meat in the last hour of cooking and skip the browning. Either way I recommend serving this with grainy mustard.
Corned Beef & Cabbage serves 4
3-4lb corned-beef brisket
1 onion, peeled and sliced in half
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
handful of fresh thyme sprigs
pinch of crushed red pepper
4 small carrots, peeled and stems removed
1 large or 2 small parsnips, peeled and stems removed, quartered or halved
4 small new potatoes, quartered
1/2 head of green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Poke two cloves into each onion half. Place the brisket in a large ovenproof pot (stainless steel or dutch oven). Cover the brisket in a few inches of cold water. Add the onions, thyme, crushed red pepper, and bay leaves. Place pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid. Cook the corned beef in the oven 3 – 3 1/2 hours, until it’s fork-tender. (a fork should easily penetrate the surface)
Brown the meat. When the meat is done, remove from liquid and transfer to a baking sheet. Reserve liquid for poaching vegetables. Turn oven up to 375°F. Bake meat for about 15 minutes until it browns and crisps up. Broil for a minute or two if you want it to be browner. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
Poach the vegetables. Remove half the poaching liquid from the pot. Add the prepared vegetables, and then add water to cover the vegetables. (I removed about 4 cups of liquid, and added about 3 cups of water). Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Taste the vegetable poaching liquid and the reserved meat broth. Use whichever tastes better to you to serve with the meat and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. (I used the vegetable poaching liquid)
Arrange the poached vegetables on a large platter or individual plates, then top with the sliced meat. Ladle your chosen liquid on top. Serve with grainy mustard and extra broth.