Happy St. Patty’s Day

I may or may not be Irish. But for what it’s worth, an Irish lady told me I look Irish. It made my day. Do most people want to claim Irish heritage, or is it just me?

The corned beef recipe from Charcuterie was creating lots of chatter on the Oklahoma Food Cooperative listserv, so I thought to give it a try. The timing worked out perfectly — we got to enjoy it just in time for a circa-St. Patty’s supper.

Corned beef has nothing to do with corn, unless you’re using feedlot beef. “Corned” instead refers to the “corns” or grains of salt used to cure the meat. Since my first experience with corned beef, I was under the impression corn was somehow involved. I was as a teenager working in a grocery store. We were trying to be snazzy like the big grocery chains and had people handing out samples on Saturdays. The butcher had his tray of corned beef: thinly sliced, pink, salty. It was mysterious and it was good.

Corned beef is incredibly easy: the brine and stove top do all the work. The most difficult part is acquiring the spices for this particular recipe. At the recommendation of a fellow co-op member, I used Butcher & Packer to order the allspice berries, mace, and pink salt. The brisket marinates in pickling brine in the refrigerator for five days. Then you rinse of the meat, cover it with fresh water, add more pickling spice, and simmer for four hours. The result is tender, shredded, flavor-packed succulence. It disappeared quickly, along with the potato and cabbage bake, Irish brown soda bread, Guinness and home brew. Slainte!

corned beef pickling spicesCorned beef pickling spices: coriander seeds and peppercorns, cloves, mace and ginger, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, allspice berries, bay leaves, and mustard seeds.
It looks so bland, but it’s anything but.

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