Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional dish served as part of a St. Patrick's Day celebration, but for those who have never made it before, it can be a bit of a mystery. If you're getting ready to host a St. Patrick's Day meal and you want to host one that your guests will never forget, it's important that you understand how to cook this iconic entree. Here's a look at what you need to know about making a corned beef and cabbage meal.
Selecting the Right Ingredients
Start by buying a corned beef brisket that's free of obvious gristle. Too much gristle will produce large amounts of inedible meat because it is tough. Choose a brisket that's around two to six pounds for an average of eight people. Some brands of corned beef brisket come with seasoning packets, but if yours doesn't, look for a bottle of bay leaves and some black and white whole peppercorns.
Choose a heavy, solid-feeling cabbage head to ensure that you have one that's healthy and fresh. Then, choose some baby red potatoes as well as a carrot. You only need one, because it's just to tone down the bitterness of the cabbage.
Cooking the Brisket
Place the brisket in an over-sized pot and sprinkle the contents of the spice bag into the pot. If you're seasoning it on your own, add a teaspoon or so of the black and white peppercorn mix and about three or four bay leaves. Then, fill the pot with enough water to cover the entire brisket. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for about two hours.
While the brisket is simmering, clean the potatoes. Remove any bad spots, eyes or other flaws, then quarter them. Put them into a bowl of cold water so they don't brown before you're ready to cook them. Then, peel the first layer or so of leaves off the cabbage head and quarter it. Peel the carrot and cut it into about three large chunks. If you like, you can include a quartered onion and a handful of parsley. After the brisket has simmered for a couple of hours, you can toss these things into the pot and let the whole thing cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.
Serving the Meal
Take the potatoes out of the pot and put them into a big bowl. Top them with about five tablespoons of butter and a generous handful of chopped, fresh parsley. Toss everything to coat it all with the melted butter. Arrange the cabbage and the brisket on a large platter, slicing the brisket across the grain.
If you aren't comfortable tackling a corned beef dish on your own, look to a local shop like City Foods Inc/Bea's Best for help.