New England Boiled Dinner
March 3, 2011
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Just what constitutes New England Boiled Dinner depends on whom you ask. Some insist that it corned beef with cabbage and potatoes; others say that it is made with uncured brisket. Some add carrots to the mix. My version, which is the way my Connecticut-born-and-raised mother made it, uses brisket with potatoes, carrots, and onions all served with horseradish sour cream. Naturally, the best way cook this is the old fashioned way—on the back burner of the stovetop for 2 or 3 hours. I used my trusty pressure cooker that cut the total time to about an hour. You can save a few more minutes by bringing the water to a boil while preparing the mirepoix.
Note: I made this recipe with a one pound piece of brisket that I had left over from breaking down a whole brisket for corned beef. It serves two generously. A typical supermarket cut of brisket weighs 2½ to 3 pounds so you will have to adjust the amount of vegetables and cooking time accordingly—I suggest 45 to 50 minutes for the meat.
- Olive oil
- ½ carrot, peeled and diced
- ½ celery stalk, diced
- ½ large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 cloves
- 1 pound piece of beef brisket, well trimmed (see note)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 peppercorns
- Water, about 2 to 3 cups
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 small firm potatoes, halved or quartered
- 6 small boiling onions, peeled but left whole
- Salt and pepper
Film the bottom of the pressure cooker with the oil and sauté the carrot, celery, and onion for about 5 minutes or until somewhat softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. (You can skip this step if you are in a hurry.)
Put the meat on top of the vegetables in the pressure cooker and add the spices. Pour in enough water to just cover the meat. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure according to manufacturers instruction. Remove the meat and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl.
Put the carrots, potatoes, and onions into the pressure cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Put meat on top of the vegetables and pour the broth in—it should cover the vegetables, if not, add a bit more water. Cook on high pressure for 8 to 10 minutes. Release the pressure, open, and serve topped with horseradish sour cream.