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A St. Patrick’s Day Feast

17 Mar

Okay, so here we go with today’s menu. I do tend to go a little bit overboard on St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s okay. We have a lot of recipes to use today so let’s get right into it. I am making two corned beefs today and am going to make each a different way. The first one will be made in the pressure cooker and done in 45 minutes, while the second will be slow cooked in a low temperature oven for 4-5 hours.

Corned Beef  and Cabbage in the Pressure Cooker

1 (4 to 5 pound) corned beef brisket, rinsed

4 cups water

1 head of cabbage, cut into 4 wedges

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

Place the corned beef in a pressure cooker and cover with 4 cups of water (or more if needed). Allow the pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then cook at full pressure for 25 to 30 minutes. Bring the pressure down; after the pressure has come down, open and add the cabbage and carrots. Cover and return to full pressure and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the corned beef is fork tender. Remove the meat from the pressure cooker and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables and transfer to a serving platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve.

I always make corned beef in the pressure cooker since it allows me to cook it in under an hour. This way I can cook one whenever I feel like it instead of just one day a year, or to make one to use for corned beef hash (tomorrow’s recipe). The next method is a little closer to traditional, although I personally have never liked just cooking corned beef in a pot on the stove. The meat comes out salty and dry and with not much flavor to it (that little flavor packet they give you does nothing to add flavor) and the vegetables, when cooked with it are usually very mushy. This method in the oven works better and tastes better, and it allows you to cook potatoes, cabbage and carrots in stages in the same pot while the meat rests after the fat has been strained from the cooking liquid.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 (4 to 5 pound) corned beef brisket, rinsed, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups water

8 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 onion, peeled and quartered

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon whole allspice

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes

1 head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

Pepper

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine the beef, broth, water, 4 chopped carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme and allspice in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake until a fork slips easily in and out of the meat, about 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Transfer the meat to a baking dish. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer into a large bowl, discard the solids, and skim the fat from the liquid. Pour 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the meat. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, return the remaining cooking liquid to the Dutch oven, add the butter, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and simmer until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the 4 remaining chopped carrots and the cabbage, cover, and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter and season with pepper to taste. Transfer the beef to a carving board and slice. Serve with the vegetables.

Two quick points about this recipe: use a flat-cut corned beef, not a point-cut; a flat cut is more uniform in shape, cooks more evenly and isn’t as tough a cut as a point-cut. Second, when you cut the cabbage into wedges, leave the core intact. This will keep the cabbage from falling apart while it cooks.

Another side dish for corned beef that incorporates cabbage and potatoes is the traditional dish of Colcannon. it’s an old Irish peasant dish that literally comes from the Gaelic word for white-headed cabbage. In an old Irish custom, the cook would bury charms or coins in the dish, foretelling good luck or wealth, probably in a way to get the children to eat their vegetables. I’ll skip the burying of the coins and charms and just cook the dish myself.

Colcannon

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

3/4 cup milk

4 bacon slices, cut into a 1/2-inch dice

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1 large leek, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped

1 small head napa cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped

1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.

Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches. Fold in the milk mixture in two additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the shallots and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and toss just until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the mace and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm.

I always serve corned beef with some mustard, and I found this recipe for Guinness mustard at Bon Appetit’s website. It sounded really good, so I am giving it a try.

Guinness Mustard

1/2 cup coarse-grained Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons regular Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Guinness stout or other stout or porter

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon golden brown sugar

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Now, on to some dessert. I don’t make dessert often, but this recipe for Grasshopper Pie sounded perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. There’s lots of mint in this one, so I think it will be a good one.

Grasshopper Pie

16 Oreo Mint n’ Creme cookies (with filling), broken into rough pieces

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

3 large egg yolks

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Pinch table salt

1/4 cup green creme de menthe

1/4 cup white creme de cacao

For the crust, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grind the cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with butter, and toss well. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate the crust until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake the crust until set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Combine the gelatin, sugar, 1/2 cup of cream, and salt in a medium saucepan and let sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Cook over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is very hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Whisking vigorously, slowly ass the gelatin mixture to the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Pour into a clean bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until wobbly but not set, about 20 minutes.

Beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream with an electric mixer to stiff peaks. Whisk 1 cup whipped cream into the gelatin mixture until completely incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold the gelatin mixture into the remaining whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape the mixture into the cooled pie shell, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours and preferable overnight. Serve, topped with chocolate curls.

Okay, we have had corned beef and cabbage, side dishes, and dessert. Now how about some beverages? There’s two that I really like any time, not just St. Patrick’s Day. I make my own version of Irish Coffee and I think it tastes pretty good, so we’ll go with that first.

Irish Coffee

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 shot Kahlua

1 shot Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

8 ounces hot coffee

Whipped cream

1/2 teaspoon green creme de menthe (optional)

Fill an Irish coffee glass or coffee mug with hot water to warm the mug. Empty the water, then place sugar, Kahlua and Jameson’s in the glass. Pour coffee into the glass and gently stir. Top with whipped cream and creme de menthe, if desired.

Traditional Irish coffee doesn’t use the brown sugar, Kahlua or the creme de menthe. I like the flavor the brown sugar adds over white sugar and the Kahlua adds a nice toasted coffee flavor to the mix. The creme de menthe is really for show more than anything else.

Another favorite, of course, is the Black and Tan. There’s really no recipe here; you can use any stout and ale you like. I choose Guinness and Harp or Guinness and Bass Ale all the time, but take what tastes best to you. Just pour in the ale and float the stout on top, and you’re done.

Last, but not least, you need a drink for the kids (and some adults too) and what’s better than a Shamrock Shake? Well’ a homemade one is much better than the sweet one you’ll find at McDonald’s.

Homemade Shamrock Shake

1 pint mint chocolate chip ice cream (you can use vanilla if you want)

1 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon mint extract (a little goes a long way, don’t use a lot)

3-6 drops green food coloring (same with the food coloring, don’t use too much)

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Other than having some Junior Mint cookies along with dessert (thank you Girl Scouts!) I think you’re probably all set. I hope everyone enjoys their day, no matter what they are doing, and plays safely. Enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

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5 Comments

Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Beef, Cooking, Dessert, Dinner, Potatoes

 

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5 responses to “A St. Patrick’s Day Feast

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