No dish defines St. Patrick’s Day quite like corned beef and cabbage. It’s the culinary equivalent of the shamrock — and the one time of year that many home cooks attempt this on their own. While corned beef is simply the salt curing process of beef brisket, Americans have come to view this dish as quintessentially Irish — and a much-celebrated March tradition. Whether you’re a loyalist to the boiled plate or more of an adventurer, this is the month to try corned beef.
Without doubt, one of the most popular corned beef dishes is hash, a breakfast mash-up of spiced brisket with potatoes, onions, and eggs. Hash variations can be found at many local eateries, including the Fly Trap, Ferndale’s “finer diner,” which garnered national attention in 2008 on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The eclectic menu offers everything from lemongrass pho bowls to North African Charmoula Chicken, and features corned beef in their “Red Flannel Hash,” named for its bright red roasted beets.
Red Flannel Hash (serves 4)
2 medium Russet potatoes, roasted and diced
2 medium beets, roasted, peeled, and diced
1 small yellow onion, julienned and caramelized
1 garlic bulb, roasted and squeezed
10 ounces Sy Ginsberg Corned Beef, braised and
Fresh herbs — parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme
(this hash can stand up with heartier herbs — the stronger the herb, the less you may want to apply)
Salt and pepper
Scallions, thinly sliced
1. In a hot skillet, add a swirl of olive oil. Bring temperature down to medium and add potatoes. Allow the potatoes to brown.
2. Add beets, caramelized onion, garlic, and corned beef. Let these ingredients get a bit of color, as well. The beets should bleed out and give a nice, rich blush to the whole dish.
3. Add fresh herbs and salt and pepper just before plating.
4. Divide the hash onto four plates, and crown each hash with two eggs (suggest sunny-side up) and garnish with scallions.
The Fly Trap, 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 48220
Purists favor the classic treatment of corned beef served with boiled cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. And few are better versed on the “how-to” than Grobbel’s, the nation’s oldest specialty corned beef producer. Located in Detroit’s Eastern Market, they turn out about 22 million pounds of brisket per year. Grobbel’s draws from their 130 years of experience to suggest a recipe both simple and flavorful, requiring only five ingredients and three hours of cooking time:
Corned Beef Dinner (serves 6 to 8)
3-4 pounds Grobbel’s Corned Beef Brisket
1 onion, peeled and quartered
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut
3 potatoes, peeled and halved
1 cabbage cut in wedges
1. Remove corned beef from package and place in a large pot with sufficient water to cover meat. Bring to a boil. (For a more robust flavor, add desired amount of enclosed spice packet to water.)
2. Simmer for approximately 2 ½ – 3 hours or until firmly fork tender.
3. With 15 minutes remaining, add onion, carrots, and halved potatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
4. Remove meat to a warm platter and cover. Add cabbage wedges to the other vegetables in pot and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
5. Serve meat and vegetables together.
Grobbel’s, 2500 Orleans St., Detroit, 48207
Not a Cabbage Craver?
Not everyone loves cabbage. Chef Randy Weed, of Plum Market, suggests a new set of sides — such as braised Belgium endive, caramelized and lightly spiced, then finished with a sweet-and-sour reduction of the braising liquid. Also consider Irish Potatoes Anna, thinly sliced potatoes crisped in the oven and topped with an Irish cheese.
Braised Belgium Endive (serves 8)
8 heads of Belgium endive
3 tablespoons butter, melted (Kerrygold)
Coarse salt, sugar, and ground pepper
1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
¼ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Wash the endive and split lengthwise down the middle. Spread out on work surface and season the inside with salt, sugar, and pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Once frothy, sear the seasoned side of the endive for 3 minutes or until the sugar begins to caramelize.
3. Add the coriander and pepper flakes to the Dutch
oven and flip the endive over, caramelized side up.
4. Add the wine, broth, and thyme, then cover and turn heat to low. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.
5. Transfer the endive halves to a platter and hold warm. Return heat to medium high and reduce braising liquid by half. Taste, and adjust seasoning with sugar and salt, then pour over endive. Serve immediately.
Irish Potatoes Anna (serves 8)
12 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (2¾ pounds total), peeled
6 tablespoons butter, melted (Kerrygold)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ cup grated Irish Cheddar (Kerrygold Dubliner)
¼ ounce organic marjoram, leaves only, finely minced
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a food processor with a slicing blade or a sharp knife, slice potatoes as thinly as possible, ¼ inch thick or thinner. (Do not place sliced potatoes in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.)
2. Brush bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1½ tablespoons butter. Starting in center of pan, arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, in circular pattern, covering surface. Brush with 1½ tablespoons butter; season well with salt and pepper. Repeat for two more layers.
3. Place over high heat until butter in pan sizzles, 2 to 4 minutes.
4. Transfer to oven; bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Run a small spatula around edges of potatoes; slide large spatula underneath potatoes to loosen. Carefully invert onto a plate, and cut into wedges.
5. While still hot, just before serving, sprinkle evenly with grated cheddar cheese and minced marjoram.
Plum Market, 3675 W. Maple Rd., Bloomfield Twp., 48301
Don’t Forget the Reuben
A staple on many deli menus, the beloved Reuben sandwich usually centers on some mix of corned beef and sauerkraut. The Laundry in Fenton is a bistro-style restaurant that builds their creation with thinly sliced corned beef that’s been house-boiled for three hours, Emmental Swiss cheese from the R.J. Hirt company in Detroit’s Eastern Market, piquant sauerkraut, and their own tangy house-made Russian dressing atop thick slices of rye. For the supremely hungry, Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub in Detroit not only offers a Reuben, but also an outrageous enhancement with the “Foran’s Burger” — an Avalon Bakery 313 roll, Wigley’s Corned Beef, “Stout Kraut,” Thousand Island dressing, and Swiss cheese, all on top of a steak burger.
House-Made Russian Dressing
3 dill pickles (our dill pickles are huge)
½ red onion
4 cups of mayonnaise
6 ounces of ketchup
1 ½ ounces of sugar
Pinch of cayenne
1. Cut up and puree pickles and onions together in a food processor
2. Strain as much juice as possible out of the puree
3. Put the strained pickle mixture into a large bowl and add the other ingredients, mixing well.
The Laundry, 125 W. Shiawassee Ave., Fenton, 48430