Compared to making the actual corned beef (that takes 7 to 10 days), the making of the dinner is relatively easy… so to speak.
One of the things that surprised me, when I was working at this grubby little pub, years ago, is that this dish is not so much a traditional Irish dish, as it is a traditional American/Irish dish. But let’s not quibble about origins.
In addition, I haven’t any images from my test kitchen for this recipe… yet. So, you’ll have to be content with my artistic stylizations,
Chef’s Note: You do not have to go though this part of the process, if you don’t want to. Most stores do sell corned beef briskets, ready to cook. You could do that but it would actually be more expensive, it wouldn't be as much fun, and it wouldn't taste as good. Besides how do you know what nasty chemicals they're using to brine the brisket?
Rinse the brisket and then add to a Dutch oven or stockpot that is large enough to hold the brisket and all the veggies.
Cover with water, and then add the beer, if using.
Add the peppercorns and the two bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow to simmer for two hours.
VEGGIE PREP TIME
While the brisket is simmering away, clean and quarter the potatoes, or if they are small, leave whole.
Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage; the inner leaves should be a nice bright green. Cut the cabbage into quarters at the spine, so the leaves hold together.
Wash and cut the carrots into chunks.
Chef’s Note: The carrot is not for eating; their only contribution to this dish is to reduce the bitterness of the cabbage. In some traditional Irish families, it is considered offensive to serve the carrot with the dinner.
Peel the onion, and cut into quarters.
Rinse the parsley, and then chop… discard the stems.
After the brisket has been simmering for two hours, add the potatoes, and add additional water, if necessary, to cover the lot.
Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes.
Add the cabbage, then the onion, and the carrot. Add more water, if necessary to cover all the veggies.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cabbage and potatoes are nice and tender.
Remove the brisket, and allow to rest, tented for 10 minutes.
Take a large serving bowl, crush the garlic clove, rub it around the interior of the bowl, and then discard the garlic.
Remove the hot potatoes from the broth with a slotted spoon, and place them in the bowl. Add the butter, and a generous handful of the chopped parsley.
Stir gently until the butter has melted, and the parsley has evenly coated the potatoes.
Remove the bay leaves, and the carrot chunks from the liquid and discard.
Add the cabbage and onions to a large deep serving platter, along with some of the cooking liquid.
Cut the beef across the grain, and lay on top of the cabbage.
Chef's Tip: A boiled brisket is a difficult thing to cut… make sure that you have a very sharp knife for this step.
Put out some plates and serving utensils and have at it. Oh, and don’t forget the mustard and the bread.