While Chicago and Savannah will be
Corned Beef Dinner
One corned beef (yes, I buy mine pre-packaged at the store, because I have no idea how to corn a beef without using actual corn, and I'm pretty sure that's not the traditional way to go about it.)
Small potatoes of your favored variety, in numbers sufficient for dinner and a few left over
One Green cabbage
Carrots (completely optional), as many as you'd like and a few besides, cut into one-to-two-inch pieces
In a large pot, place the corned beef and the contents of the seasoning packet that comes with it. Dump the liquid from the beef package (does that sound dirty to you?) into the pot, too. Place enough cold water in the pot to cover the beef with four inches or so. Yes, its a lot of water, and I know some folks will tell you differently, but this is my blog and my recipe. So there.
Cook over medium heat for three to four hours, minimum. It will start out smelling a little funky but progress to grand in short order.
A half hour or so before serving, plop in whole potatoes and carrot chunks.
Fifteen to twenty minutes before serving, remove outer leaves of cabbage, then quarter that bad boy. I cut the heart/spine/solid bit in the middle, too, but you don't have to. Carefully place the quarters on top of everything else, put the lid back on, and step away from the pot for fifteen minutes! Over cooked cabbage is a travesty, and it is stinky, too. You want cabbage that's soft bu not mushy, still vibrant in color, and in large pieces - fork tender but not falling apart. The only thing falling apart in this mess (besides the cook, who habitually loses her shit because she can) should be the beef, all tender, relaxed, and happy after its spa day.
You can serve straight from the pot, but I actually like to dish out the veggies into serving bowls and slice/chunk the meat onto a platter. All you need to complete this is a sizable portion of butter, some salt and pepper, and (especially if you're my Mum) some grainy mustard. Add a lovely slice of the soda bread (recipe below), and you're full for a month.
Irish Brown Soda Bread
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Heat the oven to 400°.
Combine everything but the buttermilk in a large bowl and stir the ingredients with your hands. Kids love this part!
Make a well in the mixture and pour in 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk.
Continue mixing with your hands, adding the remaining cup of buttermilk as you combine the ingredients. The resulting dough will be wet and very sticky.
Dust your hands with flour, shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a floured cookie sheet (I use Reynold's Release foil, which does fine). With a knife, score a deep X in the top of the ball, widening it with the sides of the blade as you cut.
Bake the bread until it's golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Makes a crusty, dense loaf about 7 inches in diameter. No kidding, you could seriously damage someone's noggin if you bounced this bread off it!
Coming soon, what to do with the marvelous leftovers (including the liquid in the pot, oh, yeah!)