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In the Kitchen With Ricky: Stout-braised corned beef is a twist on the classic dish

UPDATED: Mon., March 14, 2022

By Ricky Webster For The Spokesman-Review

With St. Patrick’s Day next week, I wanted to share my take on the classic corned beef. I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s Day. It feels like the beginning of spring, and I think we are all ready for this new season to arrive.

I dream of four-leaf clovers and leprechauns (as a kid, I’d build a leprechaun trap to see if I could capture one to get some of their left-behind gold), wearing green, chasing rainbows and finishing off the day with corned beef and cabbage.

It was a tradition in our home growing up, and we weren’t even Irish. There might be a smidgen of Irish somewhere on my dad’s side, but I digress. Year after year, I look forward to sharing this holiday with friends and loved ones.

It wasn’t until my days working in culinary that I began to stray from the traditional preparation of boiling the vegetables in the pot with the corned beef, but nowadays it’s not uncommon for me to prepare all the veggies differently.

From roasting potatoes, sautéing cabbage with leeks and cooking carrots in butter and cumin, I like mixing it up and adding more flavor. It’s also become customary to serve the meat and veggies with Irish soda bread (that recipe will be coming next week).

I like changing up how I flavor my soda bread or prepare my veggies, but the recipe here is how I like to always prepare the star of the meal: the corned beef. Corning is the process of preserving foods in salt water and was used to extend the edibility of meats in the days before refrigeration.

This recipe balances the natural saltiness of the brisket, bitterness of the stout, sourness of the mustard and sweetness of the brown sugar and covers the four core taste categories, in turn making this corned beef very crave-worthy and keeping you coming back for more.

The recipe is a welcoming take on the classic, and make more than you need as leftovers are welcome. I enjoy it the morning after as corned beef hash or sliced thin for lunch; it makes a delicious sandwich. If you don’t want to use stout, you can substitute it with stock.

Stout-Braised Corned Beef

4 pounds corned beef, flat preferred over tip

Included seasoning packet

2 bottles Guinness Stout, draught

1 medium yellow onion, quartered

2 dried bay leaves

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

Water or stock

⅓ cup whole grain mustard

⅓ cup brown sugar

Rinse the corned beef under cold water and pat dry. In a Dutch oven with a cover, add all the ingredients. Add just enough water or stock to almost cover.

Bring the pot to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for 3 hours, flipping over the brisket after 2 hours.

Remove the corned beef from the pot and scoop out and discard all the vegetables. Set the oven to low broil and place a rack in the center part of the oven.

Place the corned beef onto a roasting pan or atop a sheet pan with a cooking rack. Slather the corned beef with mustard until the top of the brisket is coated. Evenly distribute the brown sugar atop the mustard.

Place the brisket into the oven and watch the top closely. You don’t want the topping to burn but rather become browned and bubbly.

When the top is the desired doneness, remove the corned beef from the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before slicing.

If you want to cook your potatoes and cabbage in the boiling liquid, you will do that as soon as you remove the corned beef.

Bring the stock back to a low boil and add in the root vegetables. Cook for 10-12 minutes, then add the wedged cabbage. Cook the cabbage for an additional 10 minutes.

Strain and serve alongside the sliced corned beef.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Local award-winning chef and Rind and Wheat owner Ricky Webster can be reached at ricky@rindandwheat.com. Follow Webster on Instagram @rickycaker.

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