March is always a fun month in Baton Rouge. With the Wearin’ of the Green parade, one of the city’s spring highlights, it’s all about what we do best here: partying. If you live anywhere near the parade route, friends are going to show up whether you host a party or not. That’s why it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared. We’ve come up with some St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipes for both breakfast and lunch using an all-natural corned beef you can easily brine yourself. Though the process takes a few days to cure in your refrigerator, the steps are simple and can be done in just a few minutes.
Once the corned beef is prepared, you can mix it into corned beef hash in the morning, along with warm and fresh biscuits. After the parade, when all the guests are looking for something filling to soak up the alcohol, our recipe for Reuben sandwiches using the remainder of the corned beef will fit the bill. Have a safe and festive St. Patrick’s Day!
• Homemade Corned Beef
• Corned Beef Hash
• Whipping Cream Pull-Apart Biscuits
• Red Stick Reuben Sandwiches
HOMEMADE CORNED BEEF
The corned beef braises for a few hours in the oven. It comes out tender and delicious, making it well worth the extra effort, not to mention it is all natural and nitrite free. We used pickling spices from Red Stick Spice Co.—a wonderful blend of coriander, cloves, mustard seeds and bay leaf, among other ingredients. All of these spices are traditionally used for corning beef. We also added some smoked peppercorns we found at Red Stick Spice.
Pink curing salt, or sodium nitrite, is typically used to give the meat its signature pink color, but aside from that it adds no redeeming value to food. So we’ve omitted it from our recipe.
One last word of advice: Choosing the correct cut of brisket is a big factor in this process. There are three different choices: “flat” cut, which is the leanest cut and more consistent in thickness; the “point,” which is thicker and more fatty; and “whole brisket,” which consists of the flat and point side. A whole brisket is a larger piece of meat but is often a better value. Depending on the size of your crowd, it may be the best option. Have the butcher trim it up for you, making it easier to manage once you begin the corning process.
Servings: 8 to 10
To brine the beef:
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup brown sugar
2 ounces pickling spices
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon smoked peppercorns
6 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
5- to 6-pound brisket
1. In a large pot, bring the water, salt and sugar to a simmer. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Turn off the heat.
2. Add the pickling spices, paprika, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves and allow the mixture to cool completely.
3. Place the brisket into a 2-gallon freezer bag. Pour the brine over the brisket and seal the bag, making sure the air is completely taken out and the brisket is fully submerged in the brine. (Tip: Put the sealed brining bag into a second freezer bag to ensure the brine won’t leak out.)
4. Set the brining bag on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Allow the brisket to brine for 5 to 7 days, making sure to flip the bag over once a day to make sure the meat becomes corned evenly.
To braise the corned beef:
1 large sweet onion
3 cups hot water
¼ cup Creole mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees
2. Thinly slice the onion and place the slices in an even layer at the bottom of a roasting pan.
3. Remove the corned beef from the bags and rinse it. Pat it dry and place it fat side up on top the sliced onions.
4. Pour 3 cups of hot water into the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover it with foil. Seal the edges and place the pan into the oven.
5. Braise for 3½ to 4 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Remove the corned beef from the roasting pan and place it onto a carving board.
6. Mix the mustard and brown sugar together. Brush it over the top of the corned beef. Remove the onions and liquid from the roasting pan, and place the corned beef back into the pan.
7. Set the oven to broil and place the pan under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, or just until the top begins to brown.
8. Remove the corned beef from the broiler. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
CORNED BEEF HASH
This is the epitome of comfort food and a great way to kick off a long day of parading on a crisp early spring morning. This recipe delivers on all scores. It is easy to throw together because it uses frozen potatoes and can be prepped ahead of time, making it a festive dish to serve the morning of the parade. Top the hash with fried eggs and serve with biscuits and fresh juice to complete a filling breakfast.
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped onions
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cups chopped bell pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1 2-pound bag diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 pound cooked corned beef, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
4 or 5 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onions, bell pepper and garlic in the olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the thawed hash browns and Creole seasoning. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes until the potatoes are golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Fold in the chopped corned beef. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
4. In a separate nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Crack the eggs directly into the skillet. Fry for 2½ to 3 minutes, or until your desired doneness.
5. Serve the warm corned beef hash topped with the hot fried eggs.
RED STICK REUBEN SANDWICHES
We love a traditional Reuben sandwich with salty corned beef, tangy sauerkraut and sweet Russian dressing. Our version of this classic deli sandwich does not disappoint. To give it a Louisiana flair, we substituted Russian dressing with one of our favorites, the Cousin’s brand Creole Tomato dressing. We also suggest substituting sauerkraut with a tangy sautéed cabbage. After the parade, pair this hearty sandwich with a good stout or ale along with a kosher pickle and some salty chips. Then, enjoy a well-earned nap. What could be a better way to spend a Saturday?
Servings: 6 sandwiches
2 tablespoons softened butter
12 slices seed bread or rye bread
12 slices Swiss cheese
2 cups sauerkraut or tangy sautéed cabbage (recipe follows)
1 cup Cousin’s Creole Tomato dressing
1 pound cooked corned beef, trimmed and sliced thin
1. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle. Place 1 of the tablespoons of butter on the heated surface. Melt the butter to coat the bottom evenly.
2. Spread 6 slices of the bread with the Creole tomato dressing, and place the slices onto the buttered griddle.
3. Place a piece of cheese on top of each slice followed with a little sauerkraut or cabbage and then a few slices of corned beef.
4. Spread the remaining softened butter on the rest of the slices of bread and place them on top of the sandwiches. Grill the Reubens for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. Serve hot with a kosher pickle and a little spicy mustard on the side for dipping.
For the tangy sautéed cabbage:
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped green onions
1 6-ounce bag shredded cabbage
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup cider vinegar
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Sauté the green onions for 1 minute.
2. Add the shredded cabbage, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Pour in the vinegar. Continue cooking for another couple of minutes, or until the cabbage is tender but still has a little crunch to it.
4. Serve the tangy sautéed cabbage (yields about 4 cups) warm or cool as a side or on the Reuben sandwiches.
WHIPPING CREAM PULL-APART BISCUITS
This recipe is one of our family’s favorites. Not only are these the best biscuits you will ever eat, they use just 4 ingredients and take less than 5 minutes to throw together. They are light and tender, with just the right amount of salt. For a real treat, serve warm with butter, jam and local honey.
Servings: Yields 10 to 12 biscuits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups self-rising flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups whipping cream
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish. Brush 1 tablespoon of it into the bottom and up the sides of a round pie dish.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
3. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix in the whipping cream until everything comes together to form a ball.
4. Brush a little of the remaining butter onto your hands and make 10 to 12 evenly sized dough balls.
5. Arrange the dough balls around the buttered pie dish−it’s OK if they touch (it’s kind of the point of being “pull-apart”). Brush the remaining melted butter over the dough balls, and place them on the center rack in the oven.
6. Bake the biscuits 12 to 14 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve the biscuits warm with extra butter, jam or honey
This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.