Go uncorned this St. Paddy’s Day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2011

Well, Mardi Gras turned out rainy. Not the best year. We drove down to New Orleans in a heavy rain. Fortunately, the evening was dry in NOLA, and the parades rolled. We caught a few beads during Hermes, got hungry waiting for Krewe d’Etat, and went to the Palace Café on Canal to get something to eat. Food always takes precedence when in New Orleans (and elsewhere for us as well). By the time we had finished eating, so had Krewe d’Etat! Being old folks we did not wait around for the third parade.

Saturday was more rain.

Sunday for us started at Trinity Church. The crowd was sparse. The priest said the sermon on Sunday before Mardi Gras is always on the transfiguration, but he guessed that there was probably a parishioner on the other side of St. Charles who had never heard it because he couldn’t get to church due to the parades.

Sunday, for us, is also jazz brunch at Commander’s. They have beads and other throws and parades there, too. We got caught in the traffic surrounding the afternoon uptown parades. It was a “you can’t there from here” time. We did go to Canal Street to catch more beads and see those giant floats of Bacchus Sunday night.

We spent Mardi Gras Day at home – dry.

It’s now Lent, but we’re not giving everything up. St. Patrick’s Day is coming.

St. Patrick’s Day is this coming Thursday, and I wanted to do something different than the traditional brisket found in the grocery store with all the spices included. I saw an article in Martha Stewart Living (yes, I started taking the magazine even though I am not necessarily a fan of hers) called “uncorned beef.”

The article interested me, because the spices for the rub sounded good and the redness of the beef came from the beets cooked with the brisket. I am cooking a lot of beets these days. The cabbage can be used for sauerkraut for making a Reuben sandwich the next day. Included was another side dish consisting of potatoes and apples. I was hooked and decided to do the recipes. I don’t think you will be disappointed. You might try this dish at other times of the year also! Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Uncorned Beef and Cabbage

Serves 6-8

For the Spice Paste

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

3 dried bay leaves

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard

For the Brisket:

1 whole beef brisket (7 pounds)

1 ¼ cups beer

1 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 oranges)

1 onion, sliced

3 beets, trimmed, washed well, peeled, and cut into 8 wedges

1 head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

2 carrots, cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces

Coarse salt

Make the spice paste: Pulse 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons pepper, the sugar, bay leaves, spices, garlic, vinegar and mustard in a food processor.

Make the brisket: Rub spice paste all over brisket. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine beer and juice. Top brisket with onion, and surround with beets. Pour in 1 ½ cup beer mixture. Bake, covered with parchment-lined foil and basting occasionally, until tender, for about three hours to three hours and 15 minutes.

Once brisket has baked for two hours, place cabbage and carrots in a 2-quart baking dish. Top with remaining beer mixture. Season with salt. Bake, covered with parchment-lined foil, until tender, for about one hour.

Slice brisket, return to liquid, and serve with vegetables.

Irish Apple Mash

Place 4 peeled, chopped russet potatoes and two peeled, chopped apples in a large pot; cover with water. Season with coarse salt.

Cover, and bring to a boil. Cook until soft, for about 20 minutes. Drain. Add 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

Then, mash.