Thursday, March 26, 2009

Corned beef -- tastes like ham

I know this is a bit delayed, but I wanted to mention the lovely corned beef we had for St. Patrick's Day. I may have had it once before, but I've certainly never made it. It got mixed reviews at our house. I absolutely loved it; Uchenna tried to pretend it didn't exist and only ate colcannon (the mashed potatoes-cabbage side dish).

Here's how you make it:

  • Buy the ready-to-boil beef brisket that has already been brined.
  • Rinse it, put it in a pot and barely cover it with water.
  • Dump in the little spice-peppercorn packet that comes with it (is it called corned beef because of the peppercorns? I never could figure out what corn had to do with anything).
  • Boil it for about two hours (just make sure the water doesn't completely boil away), and voila!

It's very greasy-fatty, just so you know. And red. I was a bit surprised that it was fully cooked but red. Actually it looked, smelled, and tasked somewhat like ham, but with a beefy texture. Yummy. Hmm, maybe that ham resemblance is what put Uchenna off.

When only one person eats the corned beef, you have to figure out what to do with the leftovers. I snuck them into a (also lovely) pasta dish and hoped he wouldn't notice. I think he noticed. He ate some, but not much, and went rummaging for snacks an hour later.

But for people who do like corned beef and/or ham, here is the pasta recipe:

  • Cook and drain pasta (I used penne. Bowties or egg noodles would probably be just as good).
  • Dice the left-over corned beef. Sauté with diced onions and sliced mushrooms (since the beef is fatty all on its own, don't add any extra oil) until the onions are soft, the mushrooms are browned, and the beef is warmed through and somewhat browned (this may take some tasting to make sure the beef really is hot all through--a cook's gotta do what a cook's gotta do).
  • Add a little garlic and green beans and cook another minute or two (asparagus might work in place of the green beans, if you're into that sort of thing).
  • Sprinkle the sautéed mixture with a tablespoon or so of flour and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  • Add enough milk to make it all saucy (two cups or so, depending on how much you're making). Stir and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce cooks down and thickens up a little.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce. Add green peas.
  • Mix until the sauce and pasta are well combined. Turn off the heat (quick, before the peas start to lose their green, and get that awful cooked-peas color!). Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Serve immediately with a crisp salad.


Missa said...

Sounds yummy! I bought two corned beefs because they were so cheap. Then after the traditional St. Paddy's day dinner, Aaron comes in with "Corned beef is okay, but only once a year." I'll have to try disguising it in the pasta and there's a hash browns recipe with it in that I may try too.

Judy and Lloyd said...

My all-time favorite dish at the language training center in Provo many years ago was corned beef with a mustard sauce. I can taste it still. Wow!. The combination was great and I'd love to have it again. Wonder if any cooks are left from the old Amanda Knight kitchen.--Dad