Beer-Braised Corned Beef
March 12, 2011
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At the risk of offending my Irish-American friends, I find that the broth usually served with corned beef and cabbage to be rather uninspired. But I love corned beef so I cast about for a more interesting way to prepare it. I found quite a few recipes for corned beef braised in a variety of liquids from plain water to Irish whiskey. Beer, however, seemed like the most natural fit. I am certain that some will suggest that one should use Irish stout but I suggest a lager because I think stout would make the broth too sweet. In this recipe I cooked some potatoes, onions, and carrots in the braising liquid to serve with the corned beef but you could certainly add some cabbage if you like. Or, if you planning to do something else with the corned beef like make hash or Rubens, just omit the vegetables altogether. And be sure to save any leftover braising liquid—just freeze it and thaw the next time you cook corned beef. Once you have made corned beef this way you will never go back to boiling it!
- 2 to 3 pounds corned beef brisket
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice (see recipe in post on Homemade Corned Beef)
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 2 or 3 bottles beer (lager or whatever you prefer, just not “lite”)
- 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 6 red potatoes, cut into 2-inch dice
- 6 to 8 small onions, peeled but left whole
Preheat the oven to 250° F.
Put the corned beef into an oven-proof pan with a lid (because I cut my brisket into long narrow pieces, I use a fish poacher). Add the garlic, onion, pickling spice, caraway seeds, and enough beer to come at least half way up the meat. (If the pan you are using is range-proof, bring the braising liquid to a boil before putting it in the oven. If not, just add about 15 or 20 minutes to the cooking time.) Cover and place in the oven.
Braise for 3 hours, turning the meat once. At the end of the 3 hours, add the carrots, potatoes, and onions. Cover and return to the oven for another 1½ to 2 hours or until the vegetables are done. Remove the meat to a cutting board and the vegetables to a serving bowl. Strain the braising liquid into a gravy boat or bowl. Slice the meat across the grain and serve on a platter.
Corned beef is traditionally served with brown mustard but I made a sour cream, horseradish, honey, mustard sauce that I suggest you give a try. The recipe follows.
Honey Mustard Horseradish Sauce
In a small bowl combine ¼ Dijon mustard, ¼ sour cream, 2 Tbsp. (or to taste) prepared horseradish, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbsp. honey. Adjust proportions to your taste.