This year, because my busy calendar called for several meetings at our New York City headquarters, I decided to host a fun holiday luncheon for our entire staff - complete with corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and of course, our own version of the traditional Irish soda bread. I got a large beef brisket from Pat LaFrieda, and began preparing it about a week in advance, so it could corn for several days - the term comes from the ancient processes invented for preserving meat by packing it in salt or soaking it in a concentrated brine.
I received this amazing beef brisket from my friend, Pat LaFrieda, and decided to corn it myself in time for St. Patrick’s Day. http://www.lafrieda.com/
Here I am in my kitchen trimming some of the fat off the brisket.
I made the brine mix using kosher salt, sugar, garlic, pickling spices, and pink curing salt, or sodium nitrite.
My brine recipe was inspired by one I recently saw in The New York Times – it is for a four-to-five pound brisket. Here are the cloves of garlic, smashed and then placed in a large pot with about a gallon of water over high heat.
Our brisket was much larger – more than 20-pounds, so I needed to make a lot of brine to cover.
Here I am pouring a pot of brine over the brisket. It is so large, we needed to use a plastic storage bin for brining.
I also added two cinnamon sticks for additional flavor. And my secret ingredient – four bottles of Corona beer, which added a delicious sweetness to the brine.
The liquid was allowed to cool before I placed the brisket in the bin. I used a winter squash grown right here at my farm inside a plastic bag, to weigh down the brisket, so it was completely submerged in the brine.
I placed it covered in the refrigerator for six-days, turning it once every day.
On the sixth day, I took the brisket to our office headquarters in New York City, where it was rinsed in cool water and simmered with vegetable broth for at least five-hours.
We used 20 large carrots cut into these big three-inch pieces.
Thee parsnips are from my farm. They were dug up earlier in the week from my outdoor vegetable garden.
We used two large green cabbages.
Once the corned beef was cooked, all the fat was trimmed off.
Here are the carrots and onions that cooked with the corned beef – all of it was removed from the pot.
And then the vegetables were par-boiled in the broth of the corned beef, so it could absorb all the rich flavors. It is important to make sure the cabbage is really tender.
The carrots and parsnips were also finished and par-boiled in the broth. Depending on how much you are cooking, this could take about 10-15 minutes.
The corned beef was then sliced for serving – so tender and delicious.
And then transferred back into the broth to keep warm. You can also place the corned beef into a serving vessel and pour some of the broth on top to keep it warm.
Here I am joined by members of our test kitchen team: Josefa Palacios, Lauren Tyrell, Kavita Thirupuvanam, and Geri Porter.
This delicious rendition of Irish soda bread is from our newest book, “A New Way to Bake: Classic Recipes Updated with Better-for-You Ingredients from the Modern Pantry” – in bookstores next week. It’s called Soda Bread with Currants and Caraway.
We served the delicious bread with Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter – it was so very, very good. Did you see my post on my Instagram page @MarthaStewart48?
The potatoes were cooked separately – par-cooked and finished in the same liquid from the corned beef.
We served the corned beef with freshly grated horseradish, prepared horseradish, Dijon mustard and country mustard.
About 50-employees came rushing into the test kitchen for lunch and stood patiently in line.
Everyone was so excited to partake of this delicious meal!
Here is Greg Lofts, our senior food editor.
Look, the Irish soda bread was a big hit! We all had such a great time. How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Let me know in the comments section below.