Monday, March 8, 2021

Corned Beef with Béarnaise Sauce


Being of primarily Irish descent and having made 68 full trips around the sun, suffice it to say I know how to throw a really good St. Patrick's Day meal together. I've cooked corned beef a million different ways, but this recipe is the best. I got the recipe from a lady that made it for the Fox 9 news crew on a Saturday morning show many years ago. Besides being the tastiest corned beef I have ever had, it's also the easiest. Just dump everything into a slow cooker and come back 10 hours later. The recipe is so good, that there is only one way to improve upon it.

Béarnaise sauce is the only thing that makes the recipe better. It's a classic example of one plus one equals three. The sauce takes what is already extraordinary....and makes it even tastier and more 
luxurious. The only downside is that requires a little bit of work on your part. But given that you really had no labor involved in preparing the corned beef, consider it a wash.


For the Corned Beef
1 corned beef brisket, 3-4 pounds
2 medium onions, cut into quarters (no peeling required)
5 ribs celery, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon prepared stone ground mustard 
2 cups chicken stock
12-ounces of beer (lager or pilsner)

For the Béarnaise Sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh tarragon
2 egg yolks
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt
Splash of lemon juice


For the Corned Beef
  1. Place onions and celery on the bottom of your slow cooker. Add stock, beer and mustard.
  2. Set brisket on top of onions and celery, fat-side up. Sprinkle meat with seasoning packet (which comes packed in your brisket). Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
  3. Remove brisket. Slice and serve with Béarnaise sauce.

For the Béarnaise Sauce
  1. Put the vinegar, shallots, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of tarragon leaves into a small saucepan and set over a medium flame. Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer until there are only a few tablespoons of liquid left, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with an inch or two of water and set over medium-high heat to boil.
  3. Put the cooled shallot-and-tarragon mixture into a metal mixing bowl along with a tablespoon of water and the egg yolks, then whisk to combine.
  4. Turn the heat under the saucepan of water down to its lowest setting and put the bowl on top of the pan, making sure that it does not touch the water directly. Continue to whisk the yolks until they thicken, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. You should just about double the volume of the yolks.
  5. Slowly beat in the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time, whisking slowly to combine and emulsify. Remove the bowl from the pan occasionally, so as not to overcook the eggs and then taste the sauce. Season with salt. If the flavor is not sharp enough, add a splash of lemon juice. If the sauce is too thick, stir in a splash of hot water. Add the remaining teaspoon of tarragon leaves and serve.

Pairing: You already knew this. Served at 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grogs and Goldie Dunleavy, 1956

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