Corned Beef , Cabbage & Boxty

 This dish was demonstrated by Emmett McCourt at the NI Potato Festival on 3rd October.

Ireland was the biggest exporter of Salted Beef/Corned Beef in the 17th & 18th Centuries, exporting huge amounts to the new world and to the West Indian sugar plantations. Corned Beef gets its name from the salt crystal used in curing the beef, the same size as a grain of corn. Corned Beef is spiced, salted, cured brisket. Curing & the preserving of meat and fish was common practice in Ireland, cured to last and sustain people through the winter months. Cork was the biggest export town of the time of corned beef, followed by Belfast Dublin and Derry. The Port of Londonderry was a major port for import and export of many foods and for Emigration. The first people to Emigrate to the new world from Londonderry were the Scots Irish or Ulster Scots. The Scots Irish were farmers and new the processes of curing beef; they took this food with them and many other Irish foods to the new world. The large scale exodus of Irish emigration at the time of the Great famine “An Gorta Mor” later popularised Corned Beef in the new world, as meat in Ireland was a luxury only afforded by the very wealthy Landlords and those who owned the big houses. Corned Beef is eaten today worldwide by Irish Diaspora on St Patrick’s Day…. President Lincoln was said to have eaten corned beef on St Patrick’s Day.

Difficulty medium
Preparation Time
Cooking Time
Main Ingredients
    Brisket and Vegetables
    • • 4-5lb beef brisket joint, trimmed of fat
    • • 1 large carrot peeled & roughly chopped
    • • 3 celery stalks washed & roughly chopped
    • • 1 leek washed and chopped
    • • 1 large green cabbage quartered
    • Pickling spices:
    • • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
    • • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
    • • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    • • 7 whole cardamom pods
    • • 6 large bay leaves, crumbled
    • • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • • 5 star anise
    • • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
    • • 2 litres of water
    • • 200g rock salt
    • • ½ cup of white wine
    • • 5 teaspoons pink curing salt* (Optional)
    • • ½ cup brown sugar

    Main Instructions
    1. Dry fry the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, cloves, peppercorns, star anise and cardamom pods in a frying pan on high heat until fragrant and you can hear the mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the spices a little. Add to a bowl and stir in the crumbled bay leaves and ground ginger.
    2. Add the fried spice mix to 2 litres of water (1 gallon of water) in a large pot, or bowl along with the rock salt, pink salt (if using) brown sugar and wine. You can also cure this in a large pot or use a large freezer bag or marinating bag (vacum pack).
    3. Keep sealed in the refrigerator, turning occasionally for up to 7 days.
    4. After the corned beef has been cured in the brine, place the brisket including the marinating brine, with spices in a large saucepan. Double the total volume with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 ½ -2 hours skimming occasionally.
    5. Boil the remaining chopped vegetables until cooked
    6. Pick out the corned beef and allow to rest before slicing.
    7. For that added richness Reduce some beef gravy with a little pickling spices. Serve with the boiled vegetables, Boxty potato & spiced gravy.
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