Friday, March 5, 2010
Not Your Grandmother's Corned Beef
I know I am not the only one who loves those first signs of Spring. The warm rays of sunshine on your wintery white skin, birds chirping at the crack of dawn and the fact that you can leave work at 5:00 and not have to drive home in the dark. We all love those things, but one of my personal favorites about the end of winter is seeing Corned Beef in the grocery store! I LOVE Corned Beef. I would eat it everyday as a child if my mom were to make it for me everyday. The same is still true. Except my mom lives 150 miles away and now I have to make it for myself.
St. Patrick's Day is still a week and a half away, but I couldn't resist getting an early Corned Beef in the crock pot yesterday.
Little background story for ya:
This cookbook was an impulse buy at Costco. I have admitted my addiction to cookbooks. Everyone knows I can't resist. This one called out to me from the sea of books stacked high on the shelves of Costco because I simply do not like the "Crockpot" brand recipes. They usually consist of a certain meat - chicken or beef - along with a short list of canned or boxed ingredients. I am more of a fresh ingredients kind of girl.... even if it requires a bit more prep work. This book has recipes like "Smokey Gouda Mac n Cheese", "Zucchini and Leek Frittata" and "Soprano's-Style Sausage Minestrone". This ain't your grandma's "Crockpot" cookbook.
OK, so back to the corned beef. I bring the hunk of meat home with plans of fixing it like I have in the past- in the slow cooker with the enclosed spice packet and water... maybe some apple juice if I have it on hand. Imagine my glee when I crack open my Best Cookbook Ever and find a recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage Braised in Riesling!! The book also has one for Corned Beef with Guinness, which I am surely going to try later.
The ingredient list was a bit long, so I simplified it. I usually improvise when it comes to cooking, anyway.
Into the pot go onions!
.. and baby carrots!
... and organic potatoes
Plop down your hunk of meat right on top (I try to trim off as much fat as I can, I know it doesn't look like it from the picture.)
Now for the recipe concoction... Did I already say I like to improvise? The list was longer than this, but I didn't have everything so I just used what I had.
1 c. dijon mustard (closest thing in my fridge to whole grain mustard)
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. Sauvignon Blanc (didn't have any Riesling)
2 bay leaves
4 whole peppercorns
I also added in the spice packet they give you with the meat.
Mix together in a bowl and pour over the meat. Add water (or apple juice, or more wine) so the meat isn't totally exposed.
Cook on low for 10 hours and come home to a house that smells like your Irish Grandmother has been slaving over a hot stove all day long, just for you.
Side note: I didn't do cabbage. I know it's sort of contrary to the whole Corned Beef protocol, but sometimes I just don't feel like cabbage. Yesterday was one of those days. I plan on making Corned Beef at least 2 more times between now and St. Patty's day, so I have some time to redeem myself. I think I will also try it with the Riesling next time. I am sure the sweetness of the wine would add a lot to the flavor of the meat. Sort of like the apple juice does in my mom's recipe.
Invite a few friends over, mix up a salad, pour a glass of wine (or beer, or a vodka soda) and dig in. Don't forget the horseradish and mustard for dipping!