I’ve learned a lot about corned beef since I prepared mine Jewish style on Sunday. I always thought corned beef was simply brined brisket, and I was sort of right. The salt is crystals not brine. Anyway, I soaked mine overnight and drained away the water before boiling it with a large onion and four bay leaves. It was less salty and I think I’ll do that from now on.
I scraped away that huge covering of fat, studded it with cloves, added pepper, (not in the recipe, but it worked out fine.)
I slathered it with dijon mustard, surrounded it with peaches and juice and baked it for about an hour and 40 minutes. It didn’t get as tender as the fresh brisket does. It retains a firmer texture, probably because of the salt.
I cooked the potatoes, carrots and cabbage in the broth.
I cut my cabbage so a part of the core holds them into a wedge shape and put them in during the last 10 to 12 minutes of cooking. Cabbage loses its flavor when overcooked. It tastes great just tender and slathered in mustard. I’d have to say, the peach and clove flavors gave it a unique taste, but it still tasted like corned beef. Everyone liked it and the Rummikub game we played until late was fun. We chose a white wine with it. I think maybe our little dinner gathering was fun but not nearly as exciting as the Undie Run the people of Seattle love along with their Nudestock. Still gives me a chuckle to think of it.
I said I learned a lot about corned beef because the Irish in Ireland don’t eat it. They raised pork and couldn’t afford beef. The English sent cattle to be raised in Ireland. The Irish sold it back to them preserved in salt- no refrigeration in those days- to outfit ships from both England and France. The Irish had access to cheap crystal salt and had a huge profitable business for many years. Then when England passed laws against land inheritance and broke up families and wealth, the Irish had only the potato as their mainstay with a bit of salt back bacon. There are still more Irish in other countries than Ireland.
In the U.S. the Irish borrowed the brisket, a tough, cheap cut of meat, from the Jews and again became masters of “corned” beef. Cooked with the “Irish” potato and cabbage about the cheapest vegetables you could buy. Survivors.
(Next year I think I’ll organize an undie run for the parade.) We’re kind of boring.