Last Saturday being St. Patrick's Day, I was inspired to make some corned beef. No not on actual Saturday (which would have been too predictable) when we went out to a very good Italian restaurant with friends, and no, not the home-corned variety that Pooh used to make that was exquisite. This was just good ole' grocery store common or garden corned beef. To make it is as easy as can be, as you know. Basically, I hurled the beef into a gargantuan Dutch oven of boiling water with the contents of its sinister spice packet, and some additional bay leaves, two peeled onions (each one chopped in half with a whole clove poked into each half), and a huge bunch of thyme. I put the cover on the pot, tossed it in a 325 degree oven and didn't think about it for four hours.
Four hours later, I removed the pot, hauled out the beef which I put on a baking sheet and, having turned the oven to 375, popped it back in to get a little bit crunchy on top. Into the broth which was bubbling away on top of the stove at this point, I hurled some carrots, some dear little unpeeled new potatoes, turnips and a head of cabbage which I quartered and left the core intact so it would stay together.
The exciting thing I did, however, with this otherwise unremarkable rendition, was make some parsley-mustard sauce which completely enlivened this otherwise stolid and, while good, otherwise unexceptional meal. I first read about it on Food52, and, taken with the idea, then made my own rendition:
8 shallots, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and to taste.
Place the shallots and vinegar in a small bowl. Add parsley and then whisk in the mustard and olive oil. spread lavishly over the platter of sliced corned beef and veggies, with more on the side.
What can I say? it was delicious and the sauce made it suddenly vibrant and spring-ified instead of gray and wintry. I think this sauce is going to make its appearance all over the place around here, especially when the parsley in my garden goes berserk.
However, almost the best thing to me about making corned beef, is the delectable corned beef hash which makes its appearance a couple of days later. Again, not a real recipe, just me hurling things that come to hand into the skillet.
Corned Beef Hash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced large
1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced large
5 large mushrooms, sliced
leftover new potatoes, mostly halved, and leftover carrots
All of the leftover corned beef that didn't get snagged for sandwiches, shredded
leftover parsley sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Put olive oil in large skillet. Heat to medium and add red pepper, and onions and saute until slightly browned. Add mushrooms and continue stirring. When it's all nicely browned, add the new potatoes and carrots and continue stirring for 5 minutes. Add shredded corned beef and Worcestershire sauce and continue cooking on medium without stirring until a lovely, sweet and crunchy crust forms on the bottom.
Quickly whip up some scrambled eggs with good cheddar cheese, as the quintessential accompaniment. Serve both together piping hot. You can serve ketchup with this, but I wouldn't as my mother was wont to call it "blood" and it kind of ruined it for me. And anyway, I don't think they would in Ireland.