House-Cured Corned Beef and Cabbage
1 5# Beef Brisket
1 T Black Peppercorns
1 T Fennel Seeds
1 T Corriander Seeds
1 T Tinted Curing Mix (saltpeter)
1 T Mustard Seeds
1 C Sugar
1.5 C Salt
5 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Parsley
1 Bunch Thyme
2 Onions, Roughly Chopped
2 Onions, Julienned
4 Ribs Celery, Roughly Chopped
2 Carrots, Peeled and Roughly Chopped
2 Heads Cabbage, Sliced to ¼” ribbons
3 T Butter
3 T Carroway Seed
Fleur de Sel (or other coarse sea salt)
(Optional) Boiled New Potatoes and Carrots
For the Corned Beef
1. To make the brine, combine the Salt, Sugar, Mustard Seeds, Coriander, Black Peppercorns, Fennel Seed, 3 Cloves of the Garlic and half of the Thyme and Parsley in a large, 16 quart or larger stockpot. Add 1.5 g water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and add 1 gallon of ice.
2. When mixture is cool, add curing salt, and stir to incorporate.
3. Stab the Brisket 20-30 times to a depth of 3-4 inches with a pairing knife, and place in a large enough container to hold it submerged in the brine mixture. Cover with brine. If possible, pump the brine mixture into the brisket using a brine injector in 5-10 places.
4. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours (If injected, 24 hours should be sufficient, if not, leave in brine for 48 hours.)
5. To cook the brisket, remove it from the brine and place it in large stock pot. Strain the brine mixture through a mesh strainer. Discard the brine, but reserve the herbs and spices. Add the herbs and spices to the stock pot, along with the remainder of the garlic and herbs, and roughly chopped carrots, onions, and celery. Cover completely with water, and bring to a very gentle simmer over low heat. Cook for 5-8 hours (depending on thickness of brisket), or until brisket is soft, and “stringy” when poked with a fork.
6. Remove the brisket from the heat, strain, and reserve half of the cooking liquid.
7. (Optional) Place the corned beef in a casserole dish, cover with plastic wrap, and place a flat pan large enough to cover the entire surface area of the corned beef directly on top. Evenly weigh the flat pan down with 5-10 lbs of weight — Large cans work nicely. Place entire setup in refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight. (While this stage is not essential, it serves to compress the fat, and make the Corned Beef firm enough to cut when it is cool.)
8. When the corned beef is cool, portion to 5-6 ounce pieces, being careful to trim most of the fat(How much fat you trim off depends entirely upon your taste. I like to leave a little for flavor and moisture).
For the Cabbage:
1. In a large flat skillet or rondeau, melt the butter over medium heat, and stir in the julienned onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, or until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the cabbage in batches, giving it five or so minutes between, until you have fit all of the cabbage in the pan. Add a generous pinch of salt, cover, and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes. If the pan begins to dry up, add a cup or two of the brisket braising liquid.
2. When the cabbage is soft, season to taste with salt, and remove from heat. Put aside and keep cool until you are ready to serve.
1. Place an even layer of the cabbage (roughly a half inch) in the bottom of an 8 inch cast-iron skillet (one per person), sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and place a portion of the cooked corned beef atop. You may slice the corned beef into four or five slices if you wish. Cook over high heat until cabbage begins to caramelize, then add 1-2 C of Corned Beef Cooking
Liquid, cover, and place in 400-degree oven for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven, and serve immediately in cast iron skillet atop trivets or napkin-lined plates with boiled potatoes, carrots, Dijon mustard, and Fleur de Sel.