Meals for the Week: Bringing on the Irish!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Though it was never a tradition in my Irish-American family to eat corned beef and cabbage on March 17, my English- and Scottish-American husband had it every year growing up.

This was my second year giving it a try, and while I still can't get excited for cooked cabbage, I did think this year's corned beef was much improved. While Scott wasn't so sure about the sweet molasses glaze, he loved how tender the meat turned out. My brother and I both enjoyed the glaze -- having not grown up with corned beef, we don't have such entrenched notions of how salty it should taste, I suppose.

I'll provide the recipe below. Grab some corned beef before it's gone and try it!

Next week is our visit to California, so no meal plan. To tide yourself over, check out my articles for Well Fed:

Eliminations Ice the Cake Competition on Food Network

Spiced-Up Healthy Recipe Contest

Turkey, sausage, and cornbread croquettes

Molasses and whiskey-glazed corned beef
Beer-braised cabbage
Boiled potatoes
Irish brown soda bread

Guinness beef stew
Mashed potatoes
Irish brown soda bread

French toast with sausage or leftover beef stew

Grilled cheese
Caesar salad


And the corned beef! I had a 2.5 pound point-cut brisket, so I reduced the amount of glaze for our dinner. I still ended up with tons of glaze, so I kept basting the meat. With heat, the glaze thickened, making it easier to stick to the meat. I served the meat on the baking sheet with the basting brush available for slathering on extra glaze.

Corned Beef with Molasses-Bourbon Glaze
Source: Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

Cooker: Medium oval or large round or oval
Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 9 to 11 hours; baked in the oven for 15 minutes to finish

One 3- to 4-pound corned beef brisket with seasoning packet, rinsed
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
2 allspice berries
1 small cinnamon stick (I used a teaspoon of cinnamon)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 dried chiles de arbol (I used a spoonful of Asian chili-garlic paste)

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown)
1 tablespoon dry mustard or Dijon mustard
1/4 cup light molasses
1/3 cup bourbon (I used Irish whiskey)

1. Put the corned beef in the slow cooker. If the meat is too big to lie flat in your cooker, cut it in half and stack the pieces one atop the other. Add water to just cover the brisket. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, mustard seeds, and chiles (I also added the seasoning packet). Cover and cook on LOW for 9 to 11 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing together the brown sugar, mustard, molasses, and bourbon in a medium-size bowl. Cover and refrigerator until needed.

3. When the brisket is tender, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with oil. Lift the brisket out of its cooking liquid and transfer to the baking sheet. Spoon the glaze over the beef to coat the entire surface on both sides. Bake, basting with any leftover glaze, for 15 minutes to set the glaze.

Make sure to slice the meat across the grain. You need a gentle touch and a sharp knife because it does want to fall apart!

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