I love a nice holiday meal. It doesn't matter if I celebrate the holiday per se, I just like to enjoy the foods that others eat to commemorate their special gatherings. I got this holiday/food sharing bug from my mom Elaine. She cooked a roast for Christmas, Lamb for Easter and of course we ordered take-in for Chinese New Year. And there was no one Irish in our family, but I could always come home to a corned beef and cabbage dinner for St Patty's day. In honor of my mom's festive spirit, I made corned beef with all the fixin' today and Fran (my gardener friend) and I will indulge tomorrow. It's very simple to put together and surprisingly budget friendly.
Linda O'Dalton's New England Boiled Dinner
Inspired by Elaine Dalton with a little help from Fannie Farmer
3 pounds flat cut corned beef brisket
3 onions peeled and quartered
3 Russet potatoes halved
6-7 carrots cleaned and halved
1 medium head green cabbage quartered and cored
2 dried bay leaves
Remove your brisket from the package and cut off some of the excess fat that you'll find on one side.
I did the best I could. Maybe you'll do better than me, but it seems that the small amount of fat I removed did the trick. There was very little scum in the pot when I started cooking. In large pot place your brisket and cover with at least a few extra inches of cold water. Bring water to a boil and lower heat to a gentle simmer. In the first 10 minutes of cooking, you will notice that some impurities release themselves from the meat and you need to skim them off (that's the scum I was just referring to). I used a slotted spoon. Now add 2 dried bay leaves, cover pot and lower heat a bit more so that your meat is just barely simmering. Set your timer for 1-1/2 hours and prep your vegetables. I keep my peeled carrots and potatoes in cold water. The onions I just let sit out. The cabbage I get to at the last minute.
After an hour and a half, add your onions. In my version, the onions are more for flavor and not really served as a vegetable. Cook an addtional 1/2 hour and add your potatoes. After 15 minutes of the potatoes cooking, add your carrots and cook 30 minutes more. By now your kitchen is smelling heavenly. We're almost there. Remove your brisket, potatoes and carrots and set aside.
To your pot of flavored broth, add the quartered cabbage and cook about 10-15 minutes. Remove and get ready to plate this O'happy meal. The cabbage is cooked to perfection, the meat has settled a bit and you're ready to do some surgery.
Slice your brisket against the grain. It's the only way to serve this piece of meat. It makes it very presentable and easy to eat. See that little stash of end pieces in the upper left corner of the picture? That's what I like to nibble on while I'm cutting the meat. It's Oh so yummy, so remember to treat yourself.
Transfer sliced meat and veggies to a large platter and serve with horseradish sour cream sauce. It's a great compliment to both veg and meat.
I have a raisin beer bread in the oven now and if it's a winner, I'll post the recipe tomorrow.