Daily Archives: 17 March 2010

Erin Go Bragh

We make Corned Beef and Cabbage once a year for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not my favorite meal of the year, but, over the years, I’ve played around with the basic components of the meal to make it enjoyable.

In the past, I simmered the corned beef with the vegetables on top of the stove. Once I added a slow cooker to my kitchen, I used that instead. This year, Howard prepared the Corned Beef with his LTLT (Low Temperature – Long Time) cooking technique, similar to the Sous Vide Duck he wrote about last week. He brined a brisket for 5 days, then cooked it at 140F for 2 days. It came out very tender, and the pickling spices really permeated the meat. I think it came out especially well this year.

Did you ever wonder why it’s called “corned” beef? I did a little research. First of all, corned beef is actually pickled. That is why Howard brined it first. In the olden days, they used rock salt. The grains of salt were large, like corn kernels, which is where the term “corned” comes from.

To accompany the corned beef, I simmered cabbage wedges, red potatoes, and sliced carrots and parsnips. I also roasted some beets and cut them into wedges. I also make a tangy horseradish sauce to go with the vegetables. Otherwise, they are on the bland side.

Finally, I made two kinds of Irish soda bread. The first is my favorite with caraway seeds and golden raisins. The second has sliced scallions mixed in and is more savory. Howard doesn’t eat dried fruit, so the scallion version gives him an option. I eat both.

Irish Soda Bread with Caraway and Raisins

1 cup flour
¾ c. whole wheat flour
¼ c. wheat bran (or more flour, if you don’t have it)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 cup raisins (it’s great with golden raisins; also Trader Joe’s sells a Raisin Medley with both golden and black raisins that I like)
¾ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Sprinkle flour onto a baking sheet.

Whisk together both flours, wheat bran, baking soda, baking power, salt, and caraway seeds. Toss raisins in the flour mixture. Stir in buttermilk. Usually, not all of the flour stirs into the dough. Knead the mixture to incorporate the remaining flour.

Place the rounded dough on the baking sheet. Cut an X in the top. Bake for 40 minutes.

Variation: Irish Soda Break with Scallions
Substitute whole wheat flour for the wheat bran. Substitute 2 or 3 scallions, sliced, for the raisins. Omit caraway seeds.