Monday, March 15, 2010
St. Paddy and the Zombie
Zombies aren't something you normally associate with St. Paddy's Day. That's normally left to shamrocks, leprechauns and green Peeps. Yes, green Peeps. Because who doesn't think of green marshmallow chicks on a holiday celebrating an Irish saint?
The zombie part came in when I was walking past the meat counter of my neighborhood grocery store the other day and saw a pile of briskets on sale for $5.49 a pound. They'd been brined and were covered with pickling spices, all set to make corned beef for the St. Patrick's Day holiday. Not really having time to cook it for dinner that night, I moved on with my cart, but the image of those gigantic briskets stayed with me.
The next day all I could think of were those briskets gleaming in the case, and pretty soon I found myself standing zombie-like in front of them pointing at a four pound monster with its half-inch cap of fat. I'd also run across a recipe for a radicchio-filled potato strudel that had intrigued me, so I picked up a couple of heads of chicory, came home and got busy, my craving for corned beef about to be satisfied.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
The recipe assumes the meat has already been brined, but there are lots of recipes available online if you want to do your own. You can put potatoes and carrots in the pot, as well, though since I was making the strudel (below) I didn't feel it was necessary.
4-5 lb. brined brisket of beef
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
2 large onions, cut in wedges
1 head cabbage, cut in wedges
1 pt. dark beer like Cascadian Dark Ale or Porter
Preheat oven to 300°. In deep casserole or Le Creuset pot large enough to hold the brisket, place the brisket fat-side up in the bottom of the pot. Top with bay leaves, wedges of onion and cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour beer over the top and add enough water to barely cover the meat. Place in oven for 3 hours or until meat is cooked through and tender. Slice thinly and serve warm on platter with cabbage and onions.
By Chef Walter Potenza
For the Dough:
1 lb. potatoes
1 1/4 cups flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. grated cheese (Montasio cheese, or Parmigiano)
For the Filling:
1/3 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 1/4 lbs. radicchio
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Melted unsalted butter
Boil the potatoes until just tender, then peel them and mash them in a medium-sized bowl. Let them cool and combine them with the flour, eggs and cheese. Work the mixture into durable and uniform dough. Oil a cloth well and roll the dough out into a half-inch thick layer on it.
To make the filling, cut the radicchio into thin strips and sauté it with the garlic over a very low flame with the olive oil, covered, for about 20 minutes. While it's cooking heat a large pot of water. Discard the garlic clove and spread the sautéed radicchio over the dough.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, roll up the dough, wrap it in the cloth and tie the cloth shut. Salt the water, which will by now be boiling. Slide the strudel into it, and simmer it for about 20 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve it, sliced, with melted butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil if desired.