Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saint Patty's Corned Beef & Colcannon

OK, after years of resisting this we've finally given in, and we are presenting 'Corn Beef & Cabbage' for St. Patty's day! We've crossed the line....

As you may or may not know, this has been a long running inside joke with us as folks always ask us about this dish in March, and we have always been a little embarrassed to confess that we actually never heard of 'Corned Beef & Cabbage' until we landed on these star-spangled shores. Yup. Corned beef is truly more culturally Jewish than Irish, and a total unknown in Ireland...but it has ended up as the national Irish American dish. Strange but true.

But tell me why I hear you cry? Well, it was actually in the late 19th century that it began to take root. When the Irish emigrated to America and Canada, where both salt and meat were cheaper, they treated beef the same way they would have treated a "bacon joint" at home in Ireland: they soaked it to draw off the excess salt, then braised or boiled it with cabbage, and served it in its own juices with only minimal spicing - may be a bay leaf or so, and some pepper.

This dish, which still turns up on some Irish tables at Easter, has become familiar to people of Irish descent as the traditional favorite to serve on Saint Patrick’s Day. Certainly, there will be many restaurants in Ireland that will be serving Corned Beef and Cabbage on March 17th , but most of them will be doing so just to please the tourists. Truth is, in Ireland there really isn't any one particular Saint Patrick dish to think of.

But hey, why spoil the fun?... if we want Corned Beef & Cabbage, then let's have it! But let's make it a tad more gourmet shall we?

I serve my Corned Beef with curly Kale Colcannon and a Parsley Cheese Sauce which would be traditional in Ireland with a cooked ham or gammon steak. The tangy beef brisket works wonderfully with the cheesy parsley sauce, and the curly kale in the potatoes makes for a very satisfying combination. Serve with your favorite Irish stout and there you are...Irish for the day!

(Colcannon Potatoes)
• 2 ½ Lbs Irish potatoes
• ¼ cup milk
• 7 oz Curly Kale (hard stalks removed
• 8 spring onions (finely chopped)
• 1 ½ tsp sea salt
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• 4 oz unsalted Irish butter
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream
• ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid from Kale

• 1 ½ Lb Flat Cut brined Corned Beef

(Parsley Cheese Sauce)
• 2 oz butter
• 2 oz flour
• 1/2 pint whole milk
• 1/4 pint chicken stock
• 1 oz Dubliner Irish Cheese
• 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
• Handful of curly parsley (leafy part only finely chopped)
• Curly Parsley sprigs (for garnsh)

How to make it:

1. To cook the brisket preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap up the brisket like a parcel inside a sheet of foil fat side up. Drizzle over a little olive oil and roast for 1 hour per pound leaving 15 minute for meat to rest before carving.
2. To make the Colcannon place potatoes in a large pan of cold salted water with milk, adding just enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
3. Drain potatoes with a metal strainer. Set potatoes back on the warm stove top to allow them to dry out a little.
4. In a large saucepan bring water to a roaring boil and blanch Kale for 1 minute. Drain and place Kale in blender pulsing for a few seconds.
5. Melt the butter with the cream and reserved cooking liquid from Kale. Infuse the spring onions cooking for 30 seconds to soften. Mash potatoes and slowly add liquid. Fold in the Kale, salt and pepper.
6. Prepare parsley sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and allow cook gently for 1 minute stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and chicken stock and bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in cheese, mustard and cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir in chopped parsley.
7. To serve spoon potatoes in to a warmed plate. Place slices of corned beef on top. Drizzle meat and dish with about 2 Tbsp of parsley sauce.
8. Garnish with a small sprig of curly parsley and serve immediately.


Judy the Irish Foodie