This weekend we celebrated with some Guinness extra stout and some delicious, albeit not exactly traditional, Irish food. I spent an entire afternoon baking chocolate stout cupcakes, filling them with an Irish whisky ganache and spreading Irish cream frosting on top. They were dangerous in that they were delicious and difficult to stop eating after just one, but also because the whisky flavor intensified after a day in their container — one bite could knock you down for the count.
And I devoted the whole week to brining my own corned beef to serve with stewed cabbage for Sunday night dinner, a tradition that dates back in my family as long as I can remember. Every St. Patrick’s Day my mother would cook corned beef with cabbage, potatoes and carrots, and we’d eat it alongside a glass of milk dyed green, which I think was a ploy to get me to drink my milk at least one day out of the year. This time I took the tradition into my own hands — no green milk in sight — and started from scratch with a beef brisket and let it soak in a mixture of whey, celery juice and pickling spice for five days in the fridge, turning it to soak evenly every night. The end result was the most delicious corned beef I’ve ever eaten, with plenty of leftovers available for corned beef hash the next morning.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Cure a 2-3 lb. beef brisket according to this recipe. I used leftover whey from a jar of Bubbie’s pickles, homemade celery juice, and a small bottle of pickling spice in a large casserole dish that I covered with foil and refrigerated for five days.
1 beef brisket, home-cured
1 head of cabbage, washed and sliced
1/2 c. homemade beef broth
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse brisket and pat dry after removing from brine, and depending on the size of your cooking pan slice in half or in thirds. In a medium Dutch oven, layer broth, chopped cabbage and smashed garlic before laying brisket on top. Cover and bake for 4 hours, or until browned and tender.
Remove brisket from Dutch oven when cooked through and allow to rest on a cutting board before slicing. Serve on a bed of braised cabbage with sauerkraut, a fresh green salad and a glass of Irish beer.
Corned Beef Hash
Slice leftover beef into cubes and saute in reserved beef fat with leftover cabbage. Add beef broth to pan as necessary. Remove once heated through and crispy/saucy as desired, wipe out the pan, and fry 4 eggs in a little butter. Serve over corned beef hash with a steaming mug of Irish tea.
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Irish Carbomb Cupcakes
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
splash of strong coffee or pinch of espresso powder
1/2 c. chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (Enjoy Life)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and put chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the oven to slowly melt. In a small bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Pulse wet ingredients to combine in a food processor, then add in dry ingredients and, eventually, melted chocolate. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Irish whisky ganache:
4 oz. chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
6 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. Irish whisky
In a saucepan, bring milk to a boil, then pour over reserved chocolate in a bowl. Let stand until soft, then stir in whisky and set aside. After cupcakes have cooled, carve out an indention in the middle of each and fill with ganache. Let rest in the fridge until solidified.
Irish cream frosting:
1/2 c. butter (Kerrygold)
1/4 c. solid coconut oil
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. molasses
3 Tbsp. Irish whisky
In a food processor, cream together butter and oil. Pulse in the rest of the ingredients and beat until fluffy and solidified. Spread over cupcakes and serve with a wink.