Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New England Boiled Dinner

Most every year around St. Patrick's Day when corn beef and accompanying veggies are on special I make a New England Boiled Dinner. I use beef that has been processed without nitrates . For a real "New England Dinner" finish the meal with Indian Pudding.

I often wondered where the term "corned" came from and read recently that a "corn" was a measurement for salt, hence the term "corned" for meat soaked in brine (water containing salts). You will have to take my word for this because when I tried to document this fact by searching salt+corn+measure I found  mostly popcorn recipes.

NOTE: Meat often comes with a spice packet including allspice berries and mustard seed; if you do not have these spices on hand, check the meat packaging before purchasing.

Assemble:

3 pounds cured corned beef brisket, trimmed
1/2 t black peppercorns
1/2 t mustard seeds
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
4 bay leaves
3 cups carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 1 pound)
3 cups peeled rutabaga (yellow turnip, about 1 pound)
2 cups thinly sliced parsnips (about 12 ounces)
2 medium sized onions, cut in half and then in quarter wedges
16 small red potatoes, halved (about 2 pounds)
1 large head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

Place beef in a large Dutch oven or kettle. Add all of the spices. Cover with water to 2 inches above beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; partially cover, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender. Remove beef from pan.

Strain cooking liquid through a sieve over a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid; discard solids. Place liquid in large measuring cups and put in refrigerator or other cold place. Let the liquid sit until fat rises to the top and can be easily skimmed off. Return de-fatted liquid to the pan. Add beef and vegetables to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Arrange cabbage on top; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Remove beef and vegetables (using slotted spoon*) from pan and arrange on a large platter/carving board; cut meat across the grain into slices.  Garnish  with:

Parsley

Serve with:

Horseradish and/or a mixture of horseradish and sour cream (proportions to taste).

* Strain cooking liquid through a sieve over a large bowl and reserve to use for warming any leftovers and/or for stock).

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