I made corned beef this way for our New Year’s open house, and liked it so much that I immediately set out to buy another bottle of Cappuccino Stout so I’d be certain to have it when St. Pat’s rolled around. I had (mistakenly) read it was a seasonal brew.
Oh well, between that, and the kind efforts of our friends Barb and Justin, I am well stocked with stouts and such for the occasion.
Now for the corned beef.
We found this fine lookin’ chunk o’ beef at Costco for around $11, and the packaging was clear all around, so you could actually see how fatty the meat was – let’s face it, you don’t want no fat in your corned beef – you may as well just put a bit of mustard on your shoe and call it a sammich – but you don’t want your meat to be half fat, either.
•5 pounds corned beef – flat cut
•5 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
•4 sprigs fresh thyme
•2 bay leaves
•12 ounces stout
•1 cup stock
•Water, for simmering
•1 large onion, quartered
The original recipe from Melissa d’Arabian also calls for potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips and such to be added at some point, but I am not a fan of veggies stewed in fat-laden meat juices. I am planning on ‘waving my potatoes with a bit of butter, nice salt, and parsley; lightly frying my cabbage in some really good bacon fat I’ve been saving for just such an occasion; and, for the carrots? Vichy, I believe.
Chuck whatever seasoning packet has been included with it and rinse the corned beef well, then pop it into a large Dutch oven or slow cooker (these images are from New Year – so I have two briskets going).
Tie the garlic, peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves together in a cheesecloth bag and toss in on top of the beef.
Add the stout, then stir in enough stock (I am using a 32 oz box of good, unsalted vegetable stock that I’ve simmered for 30 minutes with 3 tbsp each: sliced onion, carrot, and celery, 1/2 cup white vermouth, 2 parsley sprigs, a pinch of thyme, and just a bit of a bay leaf, salt and pepper, then strained) to cover the beef by 2 inches (if you need more liquid, add water).
Add the quartered onion, bring the pot to a boil over medium heat (if using a Dutch oven), then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 hours, stirring every now and then – I did mine in the slow cooker on low for 5 hours – until the beef is tender, but not limp.
Remove the beef to a cutting board, toss the spice packet, and strain the cooking juices through some fresh cheesecloth. Again – since these images are from New Year’s and I had made the corned beef the day before to serve cold at a buffet, I had chilled the juices overnight and skimmed any fat off the top before straining and then rewarming the juices (now, a true jus). For immediate use, I plan on straining, then skimming off as much fat as I can and reducing the result on top of the stove while I’m finishing the rest of dinner.
Slice the corned beef at an angle and serve with your sides of choice – a beer, mebbe a wee, tiny bit ‘o the Irish, or a nice, bold red wine.
Oh… and of course, whatever veggies you like as well.
Happy St. Pat’s, all!