The best thing about St Patrick's Day is the opportunity to make some great Irish food. Yes, I am very food oriented!! I have to say we out did ourselves this year!!
It started about three weeks ago when it occurred to me that we could probably make corned beef from scratch if we planned ahead. So we did! I started researching recipes and eventually settled on this recipe for brine: http://blog.junbelen.com/2010/03/15/how-to-make-corned-beef-brisket-nitrate-free-at-home/ because I did not much fancy trying to find saltpeter, a nitrate used in most corned beef. So I bought a four pound beef roast and made up the brine about 2 weeks ago. It calls for some rare spices like whole Juniper and Allspice berries. I found these at the local Whole Food Coop where they allow you to buy loose spices by weight, meaning I could buy very small amounts - enough just for the recipe, and not have a big jar of something I will never use again in my spice cabinet. So we waited for the two weeks, occasionally shaking the brine up and flipping the meat about a week ago.
When it was time to cook it, my Dad advised me that while that recipe calls for boiling, it was his experience from watching the food network (Mostly "Diners Drive-throughs and Dives") that all the best corned beef is baked, so we googled and for the actual cooking used this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-corned-beef-brisket-410347 . The roast ended up being in the oven for about four and a half hours at 275. To round out the meal we found Colleen's Colcannon Potatoes - a mash with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and cabbage. We also had a loaf of sauerkraut bread.
This meal was outstanding. Each piece on its own was wonderful, and the flavors just worked together perfectly. Put a beer along side and it was heaven. I admittedly drank a Belgian style wheat beer with it, which DH says is out of the spirit of St Patty's Day, but it was delicious.
The only thing that could have made the meal better was if I had thought to make a Irish Creme dessert. Maybe next year.
Also, this morning I made what my dad aptly titled "Half Ass Hash". I took some of the leftover mash, cut up corn beef over it and microwaved it, then put an egg cooked over easy on top. Served with coffee sweetened with honey. Delicious!