Monday, March 16, 2009

PTown Pearl: Corned Beef Feast

Having married an Irishman, I've been sampling and perfecting the fine art of whipping up a good pot of corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day.  Have to tell you, Petaluma Market's housemade corned beef has spoiled us for life.  There's none better.  Anywhere.  It's one of the things that keeps our feet firmly planted in this neat little town ;-)
For about two weeks in March, Petaluma does whatever you do to brisket and round to make it corned beefy.  I'm sure it involves a lot of salt.  And maybe some other stuff that you should only have in moderation. So we try to restrain ourselves and have it only three or four times to spice up March Madness.  And pickle our insides for God knows how long.

And it so so danged easy to make for a crowd:

Boil... actually, a bit above a simmer is best... a hunk or two of PMarket corned beef in a big pot for about 3-4 hours. We prefer the brisket to the round... more tender, but keep an eye on the pot.  Cook it a little too long and it will start to fall apart.  You'll want to add 2-3 generous tablespoons of Morton and Bassett pickling spice to the water for the entire cooking time.  The water should cover the meat.  I cover the pot.

As you approach the final cooking time, add 3-4 inch sections of carrot and small Yukon Gold potatoes to the pot.  The spices will give them some extra flavor.

Instead of boiling a cabbage to death, we prefer brussells sprouts.  Don't turn up your nose (or even plug it) until you've tried them this way.  Andersen's Produce on Petaluma Blvd North (across from the factory outlets) has the freshest ones in town. Peel the outer leaves from about 1 pound of brussells sprouts and trim off the base.  Slice them thinly (about 1/8").  A cuisinart with a slicing disk rocks for this.  About 15 minutes before the corned beef is ready, heat a half cube of butter on medium heat in a heavy skillet.  Watch over it carefully.  You want to brown the butter slowly and pull it off the heat as soon as it becomes a nice carmel color, bringing out the nuttiness of the butter.  If it gets too dark, it will have a burned taste :-(   Add the sliced brussels sprouts and saute them on medium heat several minutes until the soften, become bright green, and lose their bitter taste.  Keep tasting until the flavor is right.  They will hold in a dish quite well and you can reheat them quickly in the pan if needed.  I like to add some sliced slivered almonds that have been baked on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until they're just golden.

There ya go.  Try it and report back.  I dare ya.  And don't think that this method will transform one of those pitiful packaged corned beef wannabes into a PTown Pearl.  Been there, done that.  Fail.

A pearlacious corned beef dinner absolutely requires a pint of Demsey's Red Rooster Ale.  You can pick it up by the growler (a half gallon or so) at the restaurant.  Cheers.


  1. I'm going to have to try it. I've been craving corned beef.

  2. Hi Lisa. Let me know what you think! Happy St P's Day!


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