Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ale Braised Beef Brisket


Phew!... I've finished! I'm finally done putting all of my posts together and ready to present the main dish on our St. Patrick's Day Menu! It's my Ale Braised Beef Brisket. The two sides that I prepared for this dinner, Traditional Irish Colcannon and Fried Cabbage With Bacon & Onions, are in the two previous posts, if you'd like the recipes for them. (or you can click on the names above) I do have one more to add later... The dessert! I just need to take a wee break to catch my breath and I'll be posting it! ;~)

Now, you might be wondering why a nice Irish lass like me didn't make the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Pat's. Well, to be completely honest, there is no such dish in Ireland. Not traditionally speaking, anyway. Some of the restaurants and pubs over there have put it on their menus in recent years, but it's not something that they are really that familiar with.

The more traditional St. Patrick's Day meal in Ireland is a boiled dinner, made with either Irish Bacon/Ham, Beef or Mutton/Lamb, with a myriad of root vegetables and tubers like potatoes, carrots, turnip, onions, parsnips and leafy greens like kale and cabbage. Actually, a boiled dinner is probably the most common lunch/dinner the whole year round in Ireland. There are many Irish people who've never even heard of corned beef, let alone cooked it or tasted it. I won't get into the history here, but here's a link to some quick information about Corned Beef and Cabbage and other little factoids about Irish and American St. Pat's traditions. St. Patrick's Day Symbols and Traditions  Now... On to the food!

I've made several versions of Beef Brisket and I like to change it up a little from year to year. This year for St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make my Ale Braised Brisket with Carrots, Turnips and Onions. I do not use a "corned" beef brisket to make this. It's just a flat cut of Angus Beef Brisket. No corning or pickling spices are involved. Just tell the butcher that you want your brisket "unicorned"... Um, I mean un-corned. (That's a whole 'nother St Paddy's day tradition...)

Ale Braised Beef Brisket (w/ Carrots, Turnips and Onions)
(serves 2-4 people, generously)
  • 3-4 Lbs Flat Cut Beef Brisket, trimmed
  • 2 Lg Onions, sliced thickly
  • 3 Lg Carrots, washed and cut into large chunks
  • 3-4 Small Turnips, washed, trimmed and quarters
  • 1 12oz Bottle of a good Irish Ale
  • 2 Cups Beef Stock
  • 2 Tbls Tomato Paste (heaping)
  • 2 or 3 Bay Leaves
  • Salt & Pepper


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Start your prep by washing and trimming all of your vegetables and seasoning your beef with salt & pepper. (some of the items in these photos are ingredients that I used in my side dishes)


I take a sharp paring knife and with the tip, I make deep slits in the meat, going across or against the grain. This easy step helps to do two very important things: 1) It helps to tenderize a less expensive cut of meat and 2) It allows the seasonings and the flavors of the ingredients the meat is being cooked with, to penetrate it more thoroughly. (This method works with any kind of meat or poultry and I use it all the time. It cuts both wet or dry marinating time down to a fraction of what you might normally need, too! Win/Win!!)



I use a good Irish style Ale in my braise, but you can use a beer that you prefer. I would avoid a really bitter beer or one with an extra high alcohol content, like a Belgian Lambic. Darker beers like Porters and Stouts work well too, but I like the crispness or "hoppy" flavors of a Pale Ale. Tip: A nice cold beer for the cook is allowed... Just be careful not to get carried away, though. Dinner might never get on the table! ;~)


Place a large, heavy pot or dutch oven on medium-high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of light olive or vegetable oil. Put your seasoned beef into the pot and brown it well on both sides. (about 5 to 7 minutes per side)


Try not to turn the meat too soon or too often and make sure that it's in a single layer if you have more than one piece. This will ensure more even browning. When it's well browned, remove it to a platter and set it aside until you're done with the next step.


Cut your vegetables into good sized pieces, so that they won't shrink down or become too soft or mushy in the finished dish. I use my thumb as a rough measurement, but if you have particularly long fingers, you might want to go for about 2 inches. ;~)


Season the veggies with salt & pepper and put them into the pot that you browned the meat in. Cook them for about 6 or 7 minutes, stirring now and then, until they just start to take on a bit of color.


Add the tomato paste and stir well to cover all of the vegetables. Don't worry. Your finished dish won't come out tasting like spaghetti sauce. The tomato paste just adds an additional depth of flavor and color to the meat, veggies and sauce.



After the vegetables have cooked for another 5 minutes, add the beer and stir well.


When the bubbles from the beer have subsided and it has reduced just slightly, add in your beef stock and the bay leaves. You should also throw in another pinch or two of salt & pepper.  Remember... seasonings each "layer" or the addition of each group of ingredients, always helps to make the finished dish even more delicious! Allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes before adding you meat back to the pot.


Add your browned beef back into the pot with the veggies, beer and stock and spoon a bit of the sauce over the meat.  Also, move the veggies out from under the meat to the sides and on top, so they don't burn or stick to the bottom of the pot while it finishes cooking in the oven.


Put a lid slightly ajar on the pot and pop it in your pre-heated (350 degree) oven. Cook for about 1 hour with the lid and then remove it and continue to cook for another hour, checking and turning the meat every half hour or so. Ovens and thickness of meat vary, so it could take a little more or less time.

Please excuse my horribly filthy oven. I'm afraid I haven't done a thorough cleaning in either of the ovens since our "two turkey and all the trimmings for 35 people" Thanksgiving celebration.  :~(

When the beef and veggies are tender, remove the meat to a cutting board or platter and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes covered with a little foil.


Slice the brisket against the grain, in 1 to 1 and 1/2 inch slices. You can plate the meat and veggies all together on a serving platter, or you can just do individual plates for everyone. If there had been guests for dinner, I would have served everything family style at the table, but since it was just me and Hubby for dinner, I didn't go all out and we just helped ourselves to what we wanted. Don't forget to spoon some of that rich, delicious sauce (which you can serve separately in a gravy boat or small pitcher) over the meat before serving.


Enjoy!

Mary


For the sides....


For the Colcannon recipe, please click HERE. For the Fried Cabbage with Bacon and Onions recipe, please click HERE.

OR....

Want a great recipe for Guinness Braised Short Ribs for your St. Pat's Day feast? Just click HERE!







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Now it's time to link this one up to Kathleen's fantastic 2012 St. Patrick's Day Blog Crawl. Come on over with me and join the party! (This is an older link to the 2012 Blog Crawl, but I'm sure you can still find some great recipes and decorating ideas there!)

Please click HERE

16 comments:

  1. You are making me hungry, it looks wonderful!

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  2. Kathleen (or should I say Martha!?) I do have leftovers...

    :@) Thanks! So glad you liked it!

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  3. OH my! That looks delicious!!! Can you FedEx some? :)

    Btw, You've been tagged. :)

    http://www.myserendipitouslife.com/randomness/tag-youre-it/

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  4. Since I don't have fans of Corned Beef here...you've offered me a lovely alternative! This just might be Saturday night supper!

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  5. This looks oh so wonderful. I think I will go get the ingredients today. Thank you for such a great tutorial with your recipe. It just looks fantastic!
    Blessings,
    Susie

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  6. Looks delicious! I love the pot you cooked it in, very pretty. Thanks for the follows, following you right back :)
    Have a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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  7. That sounds great! And something different from corned beef. Love the mashed potatoes, looks interesting!

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  8. This just looks so warming and delicious, perfect now we're in autumn here :)

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  9. Karla: Thanks! I'm not sure whether you can FedEx food or not... I'll have to check that out. :~)

    Liza: That's great! Glad I could be of help!

    Susie: Aw, you're perfectly welcome! I hope the family enjoys it! {{{Hugs}}}

    Carol: Thank you! That dutch oven has got to be over 20 years old, but it's still going strong. The French really know how to make cookware!

    Lyuba: Thanks! Between you and me, the potatoes are my favorite part of the whole meal. ;~)

    Priscilla: Thank you! It was pretty good, if I do say so myself. LOL

    Sunshine Girl: Thanks for stopping by! It is a perfect meal for the cooler weather. Warms up the whole house...

    Sarah: Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by!

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  10. This meal looks absolutely delicious! I'm not familiar with many Irish dishes and definitely hadn't heard of Colcannon. I know we'd like it, so I just may give it a try!

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  11. oh yeah

    my mouth is watering
    and it's only 8 in the morning

    this looks fabulous
    and i'm so glad
    you shared at Fridays Unfolded!

    alison

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  12. What an awesome meal to enjoy for St. Patrick's Day. I love the addition of all the vegetables with the brisket. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!
    Miz Helen

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  13. My husband would go crazy for this! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

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