Braised food

In the kitchen with Ricky: Stout Braised Corned Beef is a twist on the classic dish

With St. Patrick’s Day next week, I wanted to share my take on classic corned beef. I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s Day. It feels like the start of spring, and I think we’re all ready for this new season to arrive.

I dream of four leaf clovers and leprechauns (as a kid I built a leprechaun trap to see if I could catch one to get some of their leftover gold), dressed in green, chasing rainbows and ending the day with corned beef and cabbage.

It was a tradition in our childhood, and we weren’t even Irish. There may be a bit of Irish somewhere on my dad’s side, but I digress. Year after year, I look forward to sharing this holiday with my friends and loved ones.

It wasn’t until I worked in the kitchen that I started to move away from the traditional preparation of boiling the vegetables in the pan with the corned beef, but these days it’s not not uncommon for me to prepare all the vegetables differently.

Whether it’s roasting potatoes, sautéing cabbage with leeks, and cooking carrots in butter and cumin, I like to mix it up and add more flavor. It has also become customary to serve meat and vegetables with Irish soda bread (this recipe will arrive next week).

I like to change up the way I flavor my soda bread or prepare my veggies, but the recipe here is how I always like to prepare the star of the meal: corned beef. Corning is the process of preserving food in salt water and has been used to prolong the edibility of meats in the days before refrigeration.

This recipe balances the natural saltiness of brisket, the bitterness of stout, the tartness of mustard and the sweetness of brown sugar and covers all four basic taste categories, in turn making this corned beef very appetizing and keeping you coming back for more.

The recipe is a homey take on the classic, and make more than you need because leftovers are welcome. I enjoy it the next morning as corned beef hash or thin slices for lunch; it makes a delicious sandwich. If you don’t want to use stout, you can substitute it with broth.

Stout Braised Corned Beef

4 pounds of corned beef, tip favorite

Seasoning packet included

2 bottles Guinness Stout, draft

1 medium yellow onion, quartered

2 dried bay leaves

2 carrots

2 stalks of celery

Water or broth

⅓ cup whole grain mustard

⅓ cup brown sugar

Rinse the corned beef under cold water and pat dry. In a Dutch oven with lid, add all the ingredients. Add just enough water or broth to almost cover.

Bring the pot to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 hours, turning breast after 2 hours.

Remove the corned beef from the pan and hollow out and discard all the vegetables. Set the oven to low broil and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Place the corned beef on a roasting pan or on a baking sheet with a cooking grate. Brush corned beef with mustard until top of breast is coated. Spread the brown sugar evenly over the mustard.

Place the brisket in the Dutch oven and watch the top carefully. You don’t want the filling to burn, but rather brown and bubbling.

When the top is at the desired doneness, remove the corned beef from the pot and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

If you want to cook your potatoes and cabbage in the boiling liquid, you will do so as soon as you remove the corned beef.

Bring broth to a simmer and add root vegetables. Cook for 10-12 minutes, then add the quartered cabbage. Cook the cabbage for another 10 minutes.

Strain and serve with the slices of corned beef.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Award-winning local chef and owner of Rind and Wheat, Ricky Webster, can be reached at [email protected] Follow Webster on Instagram @rickycaker.