In relation to each other, Ireland and Scotland have always seemed to be like sisters: two countries with a people cut of the same cloth (tweed, of course). In both, bagpipes abound and worldly ambition is abandoned for the simple life (I wonder if J.R.R. Tolkien thought of them when giving us Hobbiton of Middle Earth).
It seemed quite natural, then, to create a corned beef dish for St. Patrick’s Day using Scottish Highland beef brisket and an Alton Brown recipe as the base. In a nod to Scotland, it uses coriander–a prominent spice in Scotland’s national dish of haggis–in place of the traditional juniper berries. Coriander will lend subtle nutty and citrus characteristics to the classic Irish meal.
With the feast of St. Patrick drawing close–and since the brining of beef brisket is a 10-day process–it’s high time to secure your meat. If you begin brining on Saturday, March 7, it will be done on St. Patrick’s Day and ready after just a few hours of slow cooking.
Highland beef brisket, 3 – 4 pounds
Water, 2 quarts
Kosher salt, 1 C.
Brown sugar, 1/2 C.
Saltpeter, 2 T.
Cinnamon stick, 1 (crushed)
Black peppercorns, 1 t.
Coriander, 1 t.
Mustard seeds, 1 t.
Cloves (whole), 8
Allspice (whole), 8
Bay leaves (crushed), 2
Ginger (ground), 1/2 t.
Ice, 2 pounds
Onion, 1 small (quartered)
Carrot, 1 large (coarsely chopped)
2 gallon plastic zip-lock bag
1. In a large pot, combine water, kosher salt, brown sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander, cloves, all spice, bay leaves, and ginger. Heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and add ice until the temperature reaches 40 F. You may need to cool brine in refrigerator to bring down the temperature.
3. Place brisket in a 2 gallon plastic zip lock bag and cover with brine. Close bag and place in refrigeration.
4. Brine brisket for 10 days, stirring the brine daily.
5. After 10 days, remove corned beef from brine, rinse in cold water and place in a neatly fitting pot. Cover with an inch of water and bring to boil with onion and carrot. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for about 2 hours or until meat is nice and tender.
6. Cut across the grain and serve with stewed carrots, potatoes, and cabbage or use to make one killer Reuben Sandwich!