Unlike most grocery store corned beef, our corned beef is fully cooked and ready to go. This means that you can rip off a chunk or two before you set it on the stove to boil, and it also means that it will not release the usual amount of tallowy scuzz that a raw product is prone to do. However, because it is already cooked, you must simmer it long enough to become tender. This recipe will also work for any old corned beef brisket: just follow the raw meat’s cooking guidelines.
As my mother (the finest corned beef supper-cooker in the world) advised me, the most important thing to remember is timing: the vegetables and meat need to be ready at roughly the same time.
1 corned beef brisket – 3-4#
3 med onions
4 stalks of celery
1/4 cup of pickling spice
5-7 cloves of garlic
1 head of cabbage – we use green, but napa, bok choi, or baby bok will work
salt and pepper to taste
3# small white or red potatoes (roughly 1 1/2 inch diameter – but fingerlings will do)
7-10 cloves of garlic
2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Course-chop onions and celery and peel the garlic cloves. These will contribute to the flavor of the boil, creating a sort of court bouillon effect which will season the meat, steam the cabbage, and eventually reduce into a sauce. Combine them along with the pickling spice in large stockpot and add brisket. Submerge in water, and put the whole shebang on a high-temp burner. At this point, you may add the salt, but I like to wait an hour or two and taste what the broth is doing; the meat will lend (or leach out) salt, but probably not enough. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat so the broth is at a lazy bubble.
The meat will need to bathe in this boil until it is tender – about 3 hours. You may need to add more water during this process. For the last 20 minutes of cooking, quarter the cabbage, add it on top of the boil, and cover the pot.
When the meat has been lazy-bubbling for an hour and a half or so, start the vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and course-chop the carrots and turnips. The goal is to get all the vegetables to cook at the same time, so just make sure they are consistent sizes. Scrub your potatoes and leave them whole. Crush the garlic with a flattened knife. In a large mixing bowl or in your baking dish, combine all the vegetables with enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Dump this mixture on a lipped baking sheet or in a roasting pan and pop it in the oven. After 20 minutes of roasting, use a spatula to upset the vegetables – this will allow more complete caramelization. Use this agitation method throughout the the roasting process. The vegetables should take 45 minutes to an hour to roast – they should be soft and caramelized when done.
When the meat and cabbage is tender, remove them to a large serving platter and tent with foil. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer into a pitcher (we used a mason jar): adjust salt and pepper to taste – now you’ve got sauce! Discard the aromatics.
Serve the vegetables and meat together and adorn with your brothy sauce. Real good with lager and blueberry cobbler (but what isn’t?). If you have leftovers, you’re in luck: corned beef hash in the morning!