Thursday, March 29, 2012

corned beef brisket (hash)

By Julie

You know, I'd felt kinda bad about how untimely this and my last post were in relation to St. Patrick's Day, but really, corned beef hash is not just for March 17th. Corned beef, perhaps. Add hash? That's much less holiday specific because it's really freaking good and corned beef and cabbage is good, but not "I'd order this for brunch any day" good. I'd considered smoking the corned beef, but my god I'd had this hunk of meat hanging over me for a week and I wasn't about to slave over it for another day.
So, I have a new job that I'll be starting this coming Monday. I wish I could detail all of the absurdities of my old one. I mean, I've mentioned one event. That is a pretty good summation. I suppose I should have created a secret online identity when I started this blog. Then I could tell you all about the nepotism, lying, unfairness, lying, two-facedness, cowardliness, nepotism, and, oh, just some other ridiculum that went on. But I'll be respectful, because I received so much respect there! Let's just leave it at, when I announced that I was taking another job, the approximately 90 second conversation ended with the boss saying in a not-wishing-you-luck-at-all kind of way, "Well, good luck to you, then." No, no, no, good fucking luck to YOU and your failing business! Love, Julie.
Oooookkkayy. Corned beef, you say? Right. Um, can I gloat and say this was the best corned beef I've ever had? Like the most tender, perfectly salty and melty corned beef? And considering that it only took up a giant portion of my fridge for a week and hampered my blog post ideas and plans for an equal amount of time, it was totally worth it, right? It didn't really need to take up that much room in my fridge, I suppose. I could have found a more economically sized pot to store the measly 2 1/2 pounds of beef that I corned instead of my giant dutch oven. Oh, but then I wouldn't have had as much room to boil potatoes. Yum. They are so wonderful.
I didn't make cabbage. Didn't feel like it. I knew that I was going the hash route, and I feel like if you take normal corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables, then just chop it up and pan fry it and top it with eggs then it's not really hash, it's just corned beef and cabbage chopped up and pan fried. I dunno, I mean, I suppose it would have been good. I just did a real simple potatoes, corned beef, onions, and oh yes... beef cracklin's. Oh man, so good. They get a little lost in the mix, but you can make extra to eat first. Brunch appetizer.
pickling spice mix
makes about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon ground mace (or sub nutmeg if you must)
1 true cinnamon stick (Ceylon cinnamon, not cassia), crumbled
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

Heat a small dry pan over medium heat. Add peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds and toast until fragrant. Once they start popping, they're done. Be careful not to burn - keep an eye on the mustard seeds. Dump the seeds on a cutting board and crack them with the side of a big knife. Combine with the rest of the spices.
corned beef
adapted from Michael Ruhlman


8 cups water (1/2 gallon)
3/4 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef brisket (don't trim the fat!)
2 potatoes

1. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine water and salt and stir until salt is dissolved. Add the garlic, pickling spice, and brisket. Place a small bowl or something else heavy to weigh the brisket down to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 1 week.

2. Remove brisket from the brine and rinse well. Wash the pot and return the meat to it. Cover with water, add 2 tablespoons of remaining pickling spice, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. In the last half hour or so, add your whole potatoes to the pot. Turn up the heat a bit to return to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

You can of course eat the meat and potatoes now, or you can proceed onto the hash portion of our program:
hash

1/4 cup finely diced fat from corned beef
1 red onion, diced
2 cups corned beef, diced
2 potatoes from corned beef boil, diced
6 eggs

1. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add the beef fat. Cook until light brown and getting crisp, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the red onion and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 - 7 minutes.

3. Turn up the heat to medium high and add in the potato and corned beef and kind of mash down to an even level. Let crisp up for about 4 minutes, then flip in sections to crisp the other side. Do this a few times, because you're bound to miss some spots when flipping.

4. If you want to be fancy and poach an egg, this is how: heat some salted water up in a saucepan over high heat until the little bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to ensure it doesn't get to a proper boil. Crack your egg into a little bowl. Stir the water in the saucepan into a little whirlpool, then drop the egg into the center. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a little plate. Drain excess water off before placing on top of the hash. Cut into and bask in the glory of runny egg yolk.
PS, I don't know why the coloring on my photo composites gets messed up when I upload them to Wordpress - i.e. the brisket looks hot pink in the one I have in this post. Anyone have any idea what's going on? So weird.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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