Two years ago I "corned' my own beef for St. Patricks Day and was very pleased with the result. I wanted to do it again the following year, but was unable to find a brisket to corn anywhere. The story I got, was they were all sent out to be corned for St. Patrick's Day. This year I was bound and determined to get a brisket to corn. The smallest one I could find was well over 6 lbs, but no way was I going to pass it up considering my challenge in not being able to find one the year before.
Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn that gave me the idea to try this. The same year I got this book I also found a Bon Appetit Magazine (March 2008) that had a "cooking class" article on brining your own corned beef. Between the two and a few other recipes I found I came up with my own herb mix to go with the brine, which came out surprisingly good.
So to brine the brisket I poured 6 cups of water and a Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale into a deep pan, added 1 1/2 cups kosher salt and stirred until dissolved. You can use Insta Cure #1 at this point. I didn't. This is what will make your corned beef red. Then add 1 cup packed golden brown sugar and stir until dissolved them mix in pickling spices. I made a mixture of my own pickling spices which consisted of 2 bay leaves, a couple fresh sprigs of thyme (from my garden) 1 tsp mustard seeds, 10 juniper berries, 10 crushed peppercorns, tsp coriander seeds, tbsp red pepper flakes, tbsp allspice berries, 1/2 crushed cinnamon stick, tsp whole cloves and a tsp of ground ginger.
I placed the beef in this pot, made sure it was submerged ( you can place a heavy plate on it to do this) and let is set until the morning of the 17th. (6 days)
The night before St. Patricks Day I made the bread pudding I make almost every St. Patricks Day for the last 10 years. Chocolate Chip and Raisin Bread Pudding with Bailey's Creme. This is a Bon Appetit Recipe from 1990 that I have finally become real consistent with, especially with the Creme Anglaise.
Here's the recipe:
1 1lb loaf cinnamon swirl raisin bread, ends and crusts removed, bread cut into cubes ( I used a cinnamon vanilla raisin bread this time)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 cup Bailey's Original Irish Cream liquer
1/4 cup dark rum ( I used Sailor Jerry's spiced rum)
1 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 tblsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Bailey's Creme Anglaise - recipe to follow
Place bread cubes in large bowl. Whisk milk, eggs, cream, liquor and runin another bowl. Mix in chocolate, raisins, orange peels and vanilla, Pour liquid over bread cubes and mix. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 9 inch springform pan. Wrap outside of pan with foil (if you don't all that liquid will pour right on out.)Pour pudding mixture into prepared pan. Bake until bread pudding is set in center about 50 minutes. Serves 8 2 1//2 cups)
Cook to lukewarm, Run small knife around pudding and release pan sides - serve war with sauce
Bailey's Creme Anglaise
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
2/3 cups milk 2/3 cups vanilla bean splip lengthwise
Baileys Creme Anglaise ( makes 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cups milk
2/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Baile's Original Irish Cream Liqueur
Scald cream and milk with vanilla bean in havey medium saucepan.
Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Slowly whisk in scalded mixture. Return custard to saucepan and stir over low heat until mixture thickens and leaves a path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 6 minutes; do not boil or mixture will curdle. Strain into medium bowl. Stir in liqueur. Cover and chill. ( Can be prepared 1 day ahead)
St Paddy's morning I pulled out the brisket and rinsed it thoroughly. I put it in a crock pot and poured one Guinness Stout over it and covered it with water. I then put in 4 bay leaves, 1 tbsp of coriander seeds, 2 whole allspice berries, and a tbsp of red pepper flakes. I left it to cook for the day. When I got home I peeled and quartered 6 turnips, peeled 6 carrots and chopped into 2 inch pieces, 2 parsnips peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces, quartered a head of cabbage and quartered 2 red onions and 6 white potatoes. All of these I put in another pot with some of the juices from the Corned Beef, some more Guinness and water. That was left to cook for a little over 1/2 hour. In the mean time my husband and I made a stout mustard. It consisted of 1/2 cup coarse grained Dijon. 2 Tbsp regular dijon, 2 tbsp Guinness Stout, 1 tbsp minced shallot and 1 tsp golden brown sugar.