Monday, March 23, 2015

House-Cured Corned Beef for #FoodNFlix

Joanne at What's on the List? is hosting this month's Food'N'Flix event. We watched, or rewatched as the case may be, The Quiet Man. Click to see Joanne's invitation.

This post contains an affiliate link for the DVD at the bottom. 

On the Screen...
I didn't remember that I had ever seen this movie, but when I was in the middle of it, Jake walked in the front door. "Oh, The Quiet Man!" he exclaimed. "I'm surprised you're watching didn't sit through the whole thing the first time we watched it together." Huh? Apparently he loves the movie and tried to get me to watch it with him a decade ago. Whoops. Well, we did settle in on the couch that evening after we put the boys to bed, I started it over, and we did watch it together. Finally. Ten years after we started it.

Often relegated to a cowboy or military man, John Wayne, in The Quiet Man, plays former boxer Sean Thornton who has returned to Ireland after killing someone in the ring. I won't spoil too much of the movie. Suffice it to say there's lots of testosterone involved. And pride. And whiskey. And potatoes. It's the perfect movie for St. Patrick's Day with all the singing, the drinking, and the scenery.

On the Plate...
Joanne's timing was impeccable. I knew I could kill two birds with one stone and post our St. Patrick's Day recipes and my Food'N'Flix recipe together. Thanks for the good planning!

Corned beef is something that my family really enjoys. And every year I ask myself why I only do it on St. Patrick's Day. It's called corned beef - not because there is any corn involved - because the meat used to be cured with large grains of rock salt called 'corns of salt.' You do need a 5 to 7 day headstart on this dish, so plan accordingly.

Pickling spices (makes more than you'll need for this recipe, but stores well)
  • 1 T whole allspice berries
  • 1 T whole mustard seeds
  • 1 T  coriander seeds
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T whole cloves
  • 1 T whole green peppercorns
  • 9 whole cardamom pods
  • 6 large bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 C salt (I used large chunks of sea salt, not sure those qualified as 'corns')
  • 3 T pickling spices
  • 1/2 C organic dark brown sugar
  • 1 4-5 pound beef brisket
  • 1 T pickling spices

Mix all of the pickling spices together in a large jar. Shake to incorporate. Add about 3 T of the pickling spice mix, plus the cinnamon stick, to a large souppot along with the salt and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate until chilled; I left mine overnight.

Place the brisket in the pot, covered with the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days. I didn't plan that far ahead, so mine was only about 4 and a half days. Each day flip the brisket over in the brine.

At the end of the cure, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse in cold water. Place the brisket in a large souppot and cover with, at least, two inches of water. Add a tablespoon of the pickling spices to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a very low simmer (barely bubbling), and cook 4 to 5 hours*, until the corned beef is fork tender. Let cool and refrigerate in its cooking water if you're not going to eat it immediately.

*Note; the beef was so, so tender. Maybe too tender. It fell apart and I couldn't slice it. Next time, I'll try 3 to 4 hours, instead of 5.

For our St. Patrick's Day dinner 2015 I served this with Colcannon and a Kale-Kissed Whiskey Algonquin.

Thanks for hosting, Joanne. We'll be back in April when I'm hosting. Stay tuned for my invitation. We'll be watching Chef.



  1. Looks divine! I've never had corned beef, but I sure want to try now!

  2. Pickling your own corned beef for St. Pat's make me hang my head in are Wonder Woman!

  3. Looks amazing Cam! I can almost smell it from here and am glad you and Jake could enjoy this movie together! Thank you for participating in this month's #foodnflix that I thoroughly enjoyed being a debut host and can't wait until tomorrow! Pinned and shared the love!

  4. Great traditional looking meal---rounded out well with the colcannon and whiskey! :)

  5. Looks great. Wish I had the patience to do one.

  6. Since I stopped cooking/eating meet I really miss good corned beef. You are giving me such a craving right now--I drooled over my keyboard. ;-) Great post and a great dinner.


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