March 13, 2019 10:45:06 AM
You can make a decent corned beef dinner by buying a corned beef brisket, simmering it in a pot of water for a few hours, and adding vegetables at the end of cooking. But you can make superb New England-style corned beef if you skip the commercially made stuff and "corn" the meat yourself.
When this curing process is done properly, the meat isn't just generically salty; it's seasoned but balanced, with complex flavor thanks to the presence of aromatics and spices. Although the process takes several days, we found that it's almost entirely hands-off: After a six-day soak in a brine made with both table and pink curing salt, and flavored with sugar, whole spices, and garlic, the seasonings had penetrated to the core of the meat.
To break down the brisket's collagen, we gently simmered the meat in a low oven, adding carrots, potatoes, and cabbage to the pot while the meat rested so that they simmered briefly in the seasoned cooking liquid.
Pink curing salt No. 1, which can be purchased online or in stores specializing in meat curing, is a mixture of table salt and nitrites; it is also called Prague Powder No. 1, Insta Cure No. 1, or DQ Curing Salt No. 1.
In addition to the pink salt, we use table salt here. If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, increase the salt to 1 1/2 cups; if using Morton kosher salt, increase to 1 1/8 cups. Choose a uniformly thick brisket. The brisket will look gray after curing but will turn pink once cooked. This recipe requires refrigerating the brined brisket for six days.
HOME-CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
Start to finish: 4 hours (not including days of brining)
3/4 cup salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pink curing kosher salt No. 1
1 (4 1/2-to-5 pound) beef brisket, flat cut, fat trimmed to 1/8 inch
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 bay leaves
5 allspice berries
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
6 carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, thick ends halved lengthwise
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled
1 head green cabbage (2 pounds), uncored, cut into 8 wedges
Nutrition information per serving: 462 calories; 224 calories from fat; 25 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 102 mg cholesterol; 1726 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 41 g protein.