Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

 My love for corned beef is deep and verges on tragic. Since Ryan doesn't eat red meat, there is no corned beef here waiting to be the star of a St. Patrick's Day supper.  Honestly, I don't even know how to make one. If it weren't for my mother, I would probably be doomed to a life without corned beef.  Except.  Remember how I said it verges on tragic?  There is exactly one thing that keeps it from being tragic, and that is that I am a cold-hearted shrew. I have taken matters into my own hands and invited myself to my mother's house for dinner.  My poor husband will have to pack himself something to eat if he comes along.  I know I should feel shame at this, but really the only thing I feel right now is hungry.  My mouth is watering just looking at the tender, juicy corned beef in the photos.  Don't you want some?

"Recipe"from my mother.  And you know how her recipes are.  

1 3-5 lb nitrate-free, organic, corned beef with lots of tasty spices on top(Why nitrate free? Damned if I know.  But I do know that nitrates are essentially saltpeter and my extensive exposure to the Revolutionary War has taught me that you use saltpeter to make gunpowder and there are many, many things I would put in my food before I put an additive that they use to make gunpowder).
Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Take the corned beef out of its package and rinse lightly. Try not to rinse off all the good spices, you want them to cook with the corned beef.  Find a large pan, hopefully something with a cover, that will also fit a rack to set the corned beef on, and room for some water.  I would do this in my dutch oven, but my mom has to use a pan, which she lines with tin foil and then covers with foil.  You want to avoid this if you can because the brine and tinfoil don't always play nice together and can give you an off flavor.  
So, put your rack in the pan, put the corned beef on the rack and the pour water in the pan up to the bottom of the corned beef. Cover with a lid or with foil as described above, cover tightly, not loosely. 

Pop it in the oven and check hourly, to see how the water is doing.  It's okay if there's more water, because the meat will give off some, you just don't want there to be less water.  That will make the meat dry out.


See?  The corned beef shrinks a lot, but it's getting all delicious and flavorful.  You should cook it for about an hour per pound.  At the end you'll get a glorious piece of meat.  Be sure to pick off the green leafy things from the spice mixture, because these are bay leaves and not particularly edible.  

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