Here’s a recipe destined for your kitchen on St. Patrick’s Day (coming up on March 17) that will help you avoid the red dyes that are present in grocery-store corned beef. Enjoy!
Here’s a note on corned beef from my DIL, Ashley, who came up with this recipe for you.
“In many corned-beef recipes, pink salt or salt peter is listed as an ingredient. This does not mean Himalayan pink salt; it refers to a salt that is a combination of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite. This type of salt is dyed pink as a way to distinguish it from regular salts.
Sodium nitrite is useful as a preservative and helps prevent the growth of botulism-causing bacteria. It is also responsible for a chemical reaction that makes meats retain their pink color even after cooking. All of these things sound beneficial, so what’s the problem with nitrites?
Sodium nitrite has been researched for its carcinogenic effects and has been linked to several different types of cancer and other health issues. The data on all of this is unclear, and the general consensus is that large quantities need to be consumed to be toxic, but isn’t it better to err on the side of caution? And nitrites have proven to be particularly harmful in the intestines of young children. This recipe for corned beef is brined for just 48 hours, and tastes like the real deal.
The only thing that is missing is the traditional hot-pinkish color of the meat. We experimented with adding beet juice to the brine in the hopes that it would dye the meat, but without success. So, the beet juice is a optional ingredient in this recipe. As far as preserving the meat and preventing the growth of nasty botulism-causing bacteria, use fresh organic brisket, brine it right away, and cook it right after brining.
HOMEMADE CORNED BEEF BRINE
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES
BRINING TIME: 48 HOURS
6 cups water
2/3 cup sea salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cardamom pods
1 T black peppercorns
2 t mustard seed
1 t dill seed
½ t red pepper flakes
1½ t celery seed
½ t cloves
3 bay leaves
½ cup beet juice
1 2-3 lb organic beef brisket
1. Add water, salt, and sugar to a medium saucepan and heat over high heat until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and discard the pods.
2. Add cardamom seeds, peppercorns, mustard seed, dill seed, red pepper flakes, celery seed, cloves, and bay leaves to the brine. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant.
3. Cool mixture down to 40°F in an ice-water bath. Add beet juice.
4. Insert a knife into the brisket about every 3”. Put brisket into a 1-gallon plastic bag and pour in brine. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Place bag into a large casserole dish (to catch any leaks) and refrigerate for 48 hours, turning brisket over once a day.
5. After 48 hours, remove brisket from brine.
CORNED BEEF & ROASTED CABBAGE
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 2 HOURS, 20-25 MINUTES
MAKES: 4-6 SERVINGS
¼ cup brown sugar
1 T ground yellow mustard
1 2-3 lb Corned Beef Brisket
12 ozs dark beer
1 head of cabbage
1 T butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and mustard.
2. Place the brisket into a 9”x13” baking dish and rub the sugar and mustard mixture all over the brisket.
3. Pour beer into the bottom of the baking dish and cover with foil. Cook brisket for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
4. While the meat is resting, increase oven temperature to 375°F. Cut the cabbage into 4-6 wedges and arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush both sides with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, depending on preferred doneness.
Add 6 cups of water to a medium saucepan to start the brine.
Add 2/3 cup of sea salt.
Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Then heat over high heat until salt and sugar dissolve.
Remove the seeds from 2 cardamom pods and discard the pods.
Add cardamom seeds, 1 T of black peppercorns, 2 t of mustard seed, 1 t of dill seed, ½ t of red pepper flakes, 1½ t of celery seed, ½ t of cloves, and 3 bay leaves to the brine.
Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Then, cool mixture down to 40°F in an ice-water bath.
Add ½ cup of beet juice.
Insert a knife into a 2-3 lb beef brisket about every 3”.
Put brisket into a gallon bag.
Pour in brine.
Remove as much air as possible and seal. Place bag into a large casserole dish (to catch any leaks) and refrigerate for 48 hours, turning brisket over once a day. After 48 hours, remove brisket from the brine.
Gather ingredients for the Corned Beef & Cabbage. Preheat oven to 325°F.
Add ¼ cup of brown sugar to a small bowl, and 1 T of ground yellow mustard.
Place the brisket into a 9”x13” casserole dish and rub the sugar and mustard mixture all over the brisket.
Pour 12ozs of dark beer into the bottom of the baking dish, then cover with foil.
Cook brisket for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.Remove from oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.
Cut 1 head of cabbage into 4-6 wedges. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper,
and arrange cabbage wedges on the cookie sheet.
Brush both sides of the wedges with 1 T of melted butter.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20-25 minutes, depending on preferred doneness.