Editor's note: In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the recipe reposted below is from “Irish Traditional Cooking” by Darina Allen, Ireland’s foremost cooking expert (above.)
But first what exactly is Corned Beef?
Ms. Allen is quick to point out Corned Beef is more popular with Irish ExPats than the population of Ireland in general. Corned beef is made from the brisket section of a cow.
Although the exact beginnings of corned beef have been lost in the Irish mists, it most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing.
Evidence of its legacy is apparent in numerous cultures, including Ancient Europe and the Middle East. The word corn derives from Old English, and is used to describe any small, hard particles or grains. In the case of "corned beef", the word may refer to the coarse granular salts used to cure the beef. The word corned may also refer to the corns of potassium nitrate, also known as saltpetre, which were formerly used to preserve the meat over those long North Sea winters. More modern methods now apply.
DARINA ALLEN’S IRISH CORNED BEEF RECIPE
Makes 6 to 8 servings
4 lb corned brisket of beef
3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
6 to 8 small onions
1 teaspoon dry English mustard
large sprig fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together
salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the brisket into a saucepan with the carrots, onions, mustard and the herbs. Cover with cold water, and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in quarters and add to the pot. Cook for a further 1 to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are soft and tender.
Serve the corned beef in slices, surrounded by the vegetables and cooking liquid. Serve with lots of floury potatoes and freshly made mustard.