I made up this recipe (and tomorrow’s post as well) a while back for a little hole-in-the-wall magazine. Keep reading, and I’ll include the original text that went with the recipes (Never mind, I’ll edit what I wrote, then I’ll post it.).
While I have very little Irish blood, if any, I grew up in a town south of Boston, surrounded by Irish-American culture. I had friends with names like Sean McGonagle and Seamus McGillicuddy. At school assembles, I admired the O’Donovan girls when they performed Irish Step dance, wishing I had red hair and freckles and could dance like that. Though I have never been kissed for being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, I can still appreciate a good Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner.
This year I decided to brighten it up a bit. I started with an all-natural corned beef brisket with no nitrates or nitrites from a health-food store. It was more expensive than the regular grocery store version, but it made up for the cost with a purer flavor. Next I added a few new ingredients to the traditional carrots, cabbage and potatoes to liven up the flavors and color. Golden beets were my favorite new ingredient. With a gloriously bright inside, they added new depth to the entire dish. (But don’t use ordinary red beets. They will turn everything red and create some sort of Irish borscht. Golden only, please!)
corned beef and cabbage
1 2 1/2 pound (1.1 kg) all-natural corned beef brisket
1 tsp. whole mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground (or whole, if you have them) allspice
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3-5 golden beets, tops removed and skin scrubbed clean (peel if not organic)
1 pound (450g) carrots, scrubbed and cut into 5 inch long pieces (peel if not organic)
1 pound (450g) parsnips, peeled and cut into 5 inch long pieces
1 pound (450g) small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
1 head green cabbage, core removed and cut into 8 wedges
salt and pepper to taste
assorted grainy mustards
1. Place corned beef and spices in the bottom of a large stockpot and cover with 1-2″ inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and remove any impurities with a slotted spoon. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 2 hours.
2. Add in beets, carrots, parsnips, and carrots. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes, then add in potatoes. Keep simmering until all vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife.
3. About twenty minutes before serving, place cabbage wedges on top of the vegetables and cover with a lid. Allow to steam until cabbage is bright green and crisp tender, about 10-15 minutes. Peel beets and slice them longways to serve. Serve with butter, salt and pepper, and grainy mustard.