Growing up gypsy, there are often customs and traditions observed by a family that, as children raised under such circumstances, simply make sense without hesitation. As long as I can remember, I have been fed black-eyed peas and collard greens on new years eve, I have made an effort to consume fish throughout lent… regardless how unsuccessful, Barbacoa on Cinco de Mayo, Hotdogs and Burgers on the 4th of July, Chicken Mole on Dia de los Muertos, Turkey on thanksgiving, etc… Simply because that is what my mother told me to do. To say that the lady was covering her bases would be an adequate assessment of how she viewed her personal traditions… partake in them all. Corned Beef & Cabbage some how squeaked by often untouched… Heineken, Dyed green Beers, Jameson, and Irish car bombs became my definition of what I was meant to consume on St. Patty’s Day.
For my first foray into the handlings of corned beef, I start with innocent questions asked to a sausage handler in a butchery. I am led to a simple Idea, Brine / Pickling Liquid, cooking instructions and ultimately a delicious end product.
It was fantastic! There is something about being lost in the North Woods, submerged in a hellacious winter that drives a man to really enjoy the flavors of a pickled product… I don’t get it, but like a moth to a flame, I cannot get enough. It was a new taste to beef, something unexpected, it was tangy and succulent, it was corned. I wanted to reproduce the Corned brisket. I started with what I can only describe as a pickling liquid meats a brine.
Crushed Pepper Flakes
Pickling Spice (Bay leaf, Mustard Seed, Black peppercorns, Coriander, Etc)
As I soak a full Brisket, I have my own Doubts, being new to the idea. Seven days pass before I give the brisket a second thought.
Corned Beef, Sous vide
135°F for 48 hours… The art of cooking in a temperature controlled water bath and vacuum sealed bag had never had more of a practical use in my personal opinion… It was the only way I could have imagined cooking the brisket perfectly, seemed natural. After a water bath, the beef hit’s a Faux smoker to season with just a hint of fire.
The Dish Takes Life
The Sweet and Tangy beef take me away from a morbid winter. I add an egg yolk to compliment the acidity in the corned beef. No sauce needed. The Cabbage is Braised in White wine and herbs. The dish is a winner as well as a tradition that I will now continue to observe despite the complete lack of Irish lineage in my genetic composition.
Corned Beef & Cabbage, Boiled Potato, Heirloom Carrot, Butter Poached Yolk, Dried Herb (Thyme & Basil)