Corned Beef Makeover

corned beef
For many people, St. Patrick's Day isn't a holiday without a traditional plate of corned beef and cabbage.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of not-so-great corned beef served this time of year.

Full Coverage: St. Patrick's Day

So, The Early Show asked chef Peter Kelly to give the meal a tasty, modern makeover.

Kelly owns four restaurants in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City. They include "X-2-O, Xaviars on the Hudson."

And, if he still can't sell you on the idea of corned beef, here's a secret: Salmon makes a delicious substitute!

What the heck is corned beef, anyway?

It's a cut of beef, usually brisket, that's cured in a seasoned brine.

Back in the day, it was a dry brine, coated in large pieces of salt that resembled corn -- hllence the name, "corned beef"!

Now, it's typically prepared in a saltwater brine.

To make corned beef correctly, you need to allow it to brine for several days -- some chefs even suggest three weeks.

Kelly suggests that people simply buy a corned beef -- no, not the canned or packaged kind; a real piece of meat from the butcher! -- then finish preparing it at home.

He puts the brisket in a pot with carrots, onions, dry mustard, thyme and parsley. That simmers for about three hours.

What really elevates this traditional meal are the sides: potato pancakes and fried cabbage.

We're kind of in-between seasons right now, so there aren't a lot of great fresh vegetables available. However, there's always plenty of cabbage!

Kelly calls for savoy cabbage in his recipe, as opposed to plain green cabbage. You can spot savoy cabbage easily, thanks to its crinkled leaves. The flavor is a bit milder than green cabbage.

He then finishes the plate by drizzling a simple mustard sauce over the meat. It's easy to whisk this sauce together.

Now, if you don't want to prepare corned beef, salmon also pairs beautifully with the sauce and sides, Kelly points out.

He brought a couple of other items to the show: Cashel Blue cheese -- a traditional Irish blue that's mild and creamy -- and some "special" milkshakes.


Irish Corned Beef with Roesti Potato Pancake & Fried Cabbage
Mustard Mousseline

Recipe Courtesy of Peter Xaviar Kelly, The Xaviars Restaurant Group

For Corned Beef:

1 - 3-4 Lbs Corned Beef Brisket
3 Large Carrots, cut in large chunks
3 Large Onions, Quartered
2 teaspoon Dry mustard
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch curly parsley

Fill a heavy bottom pot with enough water to cover corned beef by at least 2 inches
Add carrots, onions mustard, thyme and parsley to pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and skim scum or foam from pot and discard.
Simmer corned beef approximately 3 hours till beef is fork tender. (Do not let the cooking liquid boil.)
Remove the kettle from the heat and let the corned beef stand in the cooking liquid 20 minutes.
Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and with a sharp knife remove all but a very thin layer of fat.
Cut the corned beef across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

For Roesti Potato Pancake

1 medium onion, peeled
4 large russet or Idaho potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Using box grater coarsely grate onion and place in mixing bowl
Coarsely grate potatoes into a bowl of cold water.
Place grated potatoes in the center of a kitchen towel and gently squeeze out all water.
Add potatoes to bowl with grated onion.
Sprinkle potatoes with flour and add beaten egg.
Mix well and season generously with salt & ground pepper.
Heat a non stick pan over medium high heat till hot but not smoking.
Add a tablespoon of butter to pan and when melted add enough potato mixture to cover bottom.
Pancake should be about 2 inches thick after pressing down with a spatula.
Fry until bottom is golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then turn over and fry until golden-brown and crisp on reverse side.
Cut pancake into quarters.
Keep warm.

Fried Cabbage

1 Head Savoy cabbage, tough outer leaves discarded
3 tablespoons butter
Generous amount fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

Quarter cabbage and remove core.
Place cabbage on cutting board and using a very sharp knife finely slice cabbage into long thin strips.
Heat a large sauté pan with 3 tablespoons butter.
Add cabbage to skillet and cook over medium heat.
Continue cooking till cabbage is well browned and tender.
Keep warm.

Mustard Mousseline:

3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream, lightly whipped

Place mustard in small mixing bowl.
Using a rubber spatula gently fold whipped cream into mustard.
Set aside

To serve:

Place a potato pancake quarter on plate.
Drape several slices on corned beef over pancake.
Spoon small portion of cabbage to side of corned beef.
Drizzle corned beef with mustard mousseline.