Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
A Feast Fit for St. Patrick – Part 2
A Feast Fit for St. Patrick – Part 2

This is a continuation from last week’s post on my annual St Patrick’s Day dinner menu (link). Part one included recipes for Whole Wheat Beer Bread and Butter Braised Cabbage. Part two here covers my favorite recipes for Glazed Corned Beef and Irish Coffee.

Glazed Corn Beef

This is my never-varying corned beef preparation, although I do change the glaze from year to year. This is more of a detailed cooking methodology than a recipe, but it never fails to please even the most ardent corned beef haters. And it is perfect for entertaining because most of the work is done ahead

The original inspiration for this recipe came from an old Bon Appetit magazine many years ago and I have been enhancing and modifying it over time. This preparation method creates a meat that is almost like a fine ham. I have served this to many people who professed to hate corned beef and they always had second or third helpings.

You must begin preparing this a day in advance.

Remove the corned beef from its bag, rinse it well and then soak it for 8 hours or so in fresh cold water in the refrigerator. This removes the excess salt and also eliminates that chemical flavor sometimes found in some brands of corned beef.

To cook, place it in a large pot, cover with water and simmer gently for about 3 hours. Don't cut off the excess fat before cooking. That will keep it moist while cooking. I used to add bay leaves and peppercorns and such to the water but once I forgot and the meat tasted the same. It is very important that you don't allow it to boil hard, just a nice gentle simmer. While cooking, I partially cover the pot by tilting the lid and keep checking it to make sure it stays at a simmer.

After 3 hours, drain it, place it on a plate and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight. This precooking allows me to cook the meat in advance and since St Patrick’s Day usually falls on a weeknight I can still make a nice dinner after working all day. Also, after chilling I cut off all the fat, which is easier to do when it has hardened after refrigeration.

About two hours before dinner, take the corned beef out of the refrigerator, cut off all the fat, place it in a greased baking pan and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Just before baking I brush it with some kind of glaze or sauce. One time I used a glaze made from ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard with a pinch of ground cloves, all stirred together well and allowed sit for a while for the sugar to dissolve into a sauce. Another time I pureed orange marmalade and Dijon mustard and used that as a glaze. Anything goes, or even no glaze at all, if you prefer.

Bake it for about 45 minutes or until heated through. If the glaze contains sugar or other ingredient that has the potential to burn in the oven, I may cover the dish with foil for the first half of cooking. While baking, if the meat appears to be drying out or the glaze is beginning to caramelize too much, I may cover the dish with foil.

Slice thinly and serve.

Irish Coffee

Way back in the 60’s there was a humorous cookbook called “The I Hate to Cook Book” by Peg Bracken. This recipe is NOT from that book, but I cannot discuss this great hot beverage without recalling how the author referred to Irish Coffee as the triple whammy for those who hate to cook: dessert, coffee, and liqueur all in one glass!

To me, Irish coffee is a beverage of contrasts for all the senses. I love the way the hot coffee contrasts with the cool cream as you sip the coffee through the cream. The fragrances of the rich coffee and whiskey combine into a new synergistic aroma, while the strong flavor of the coffee is softened by the sweet brown sugar. That brown sugar, by the way, is the secret ingredient that makes this recipe better than all the others

In each coffee cup place 2 packed teaspoons of brown sugar. Add a shot of Irish whiskey. Pour in fresh hot coffee, not quite to the top of the cup rim and stir. Top with heavy cream that has been whipped softly.

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Blogger Pink Granite said...
Thank you so much for all the fresh ideas on a traditional menu! I look forward to trying them out!
- Lee