Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tough Critic

My new try for the day was to make corned beef and cabbage. Not groundbreaking by any means, since it is St. Patrick's Day after all. However, still totally traditional, and new to me! I've never made it before, but I was actually a little scared to! My husband has unreasonably high standards for corned beef (blame the kosher delis), and anytime I make something new, I always ask him several times, "Is it good? Should I have done anything different? Is it good enough that you want it again?" etc. How am I supposed to ask him for an honest opinion about a new endeavor when he has such high standards?! I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment.

Luckily, I discovered that much like beef brisket, corned beef brisket is pretty foolproof. Unless you slice it incorrectly or something (resulting in tough meat), you pretty much can't mess it up. I loosely followed a few different recipes for a slow cooker preparation, and it was insanely easy.

I added the following ingredients to the slow cooker:
  • baby carrots
  • small red potatoes, quartered
  • water (4 cups)
  • beer (I used about 8 oz. of Bud Select because that's what we had on hand)
  • flat cut corned beef brisket (and the included seasoning packet)

I put the first 3 ingredients in the slow cooker first, then placed the brisket on top. I poured the beer over, then rubbed the seasonings over the brisket. I cooked this on high for 8 hours. When I got home from work, I added chopped cabbage, gave it all a stir then set on high for 1 more hour. Then that was it!

One note about briskets. You can get either a point cut or flat cut brisket. The point cut is cheaper (at my market it was $1/pound cheaper), but it's fattier. The flat cut still has a layer of fat on the underside, but that is easily removable after it's cooked. I made the mistake of trimming a brisket once - bad idea! Not only is it difficult to remove while the meat is raw, but you're removing all that great flavor that the fat imparts! So if you're trying to eat healthier, like me, spend the extra $3-4 for the leaner flat cut and just remove the extra fat before you eat it. It's a win-win.

What's great about a dish like this is that you can adjust the ingredient amounts to your liking. Add more carrots, less potatoes, etc. I'll probably add more carrots next time because they had such an awesome flavor (I used two cups this time). We have lots of leftovers!

The meal was fantastic and the corned beef was so tender, juicy and flavorful. The husband gave it a 8 out of 10 (a rating of 10 being his died-and-gone-to-heaven kosher corned beef). For my first attempt, I'll definitely take that! Success. :)

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