Apparently, I grew up as a picky eater.  These days, I’m doing a lot of apologizing to my parents.  Until I met Kyle, I was conscious of only truly not liking one food: green beans.   And only after he pinned me as a picky eater, I realized there were so many other things…asparagus, cauliflower, pickles, mustard, nuts, spicy foods in any form, and two of the biggest offenders: corned beef and cabbage.  I used to dread St. Paddy’s Day and I always felt so bad being invited to friends’ houses to celebrate as a teenager because I just couldn’t stomach the boiled meal.

But somewhere along the way in the past few years, my tastes have changed drastically (see: jalapeño popper grilled cheese and buffalo chicken pizza) and on a complete whim early last year, I agreed to swap half of my roast beef sandwich for half of Kyle’s corned beef Reuben.  And I was hooked.  So after 8 years of Kyle unsuccessfully begging me to make corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day, I found this baked corned beef recipe last year and truly discovered a new food love.  Baked with cloves and covered with brown sugar and hot and sweet honey mustard, this corned beef is other-worldly good.  The cloves subtly seep into the beef roast and the brown sugar and honey mustard create a slight crust on top, adding both ample flavor and a nice texture.  Let’s also quickly talk about the cabbage because what else would really round out this Irish-American meal (aside from soda or rye bread)?  You’ll thinly slice the cabbage and saute it with onion, garlic, and olive oil, much like you’ll do for this colcannon, another Irish staple.  And let me tell you, sauteed cabbage is nothing like boiled cabbage.  Slightly crisp and fully awesome, you’ll want this cabbage as a side dish for more than just corned beef.  Served alongside potatoes and carrots, this baked corned beef and sauteed cabbage is the perfect American celebration of St. Paddy’s Day and when made this past weekend for my visiting family in only 2 hours (as opposed to the hours needed to boil corned beef), it was a huge hit.  If you think you can’t get your family to eat corned beef, test this recipe on them – I’m positive they’ll think differently after eating it.

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Baked Corned Beef and Sauteed Cabbage
source: adapted from Simply Recipes

Hot and sweet honey mustard my not be easy to find but I found some (made by Olde Cape Cod) at my regular grocery store and surprisingly, I couldn’t find it at Whole Foods.  Look carefully but if you can’t find it, try a sharp honey mustard.

For the Baked Corned Beef:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs corned beef (in package or from the butcher)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp hot and sweet honey mustard, divided
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Immerse the corned beef roast in a large bowl of cold water and rinse off the packaged liquid.  Empty and refill the bowl and repeat this rinse two more times.  If you use a non-packaged corned beef (i.e. from the butcher), rinse under cold water rather than immersing.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Drain the corned beef from the package and discard the spice packet. Lay corned beef, fat side up, on a large piece of heavy duty or doubled piece of regular aluminum foil, wide, aluminum foil.  With a sharp knife, pierce small, evenly spaced holes in the top of the corned beef and insert the cloves into holes. Spread the top with 1/4 cup hot and sweet honey mustard. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.
  3. Wrap the corned beef with foil in a way that allows for a little space on top between the corned beef and the foil, and creates a container to catch the juices. Place foil-wrapped corned beef in a shallow roasting pan and bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours.
  4. Open the foil wrapping, spread the remaining honey mustard over the top of the corned beef, and broil it for 2-3 minutes, until the top is bubbly and lightly browned. Make sure you pull the foil down and don’t let it near the broiler or it will catch fire – trust me. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then place on cutting board and cut at a diagonal, across the grain of the meat, into 1/2-inch thick slices.

For the Sauteed Cabbage:

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large head of cabbage, sliced into 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch wide slices
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil (enough to well coat the pan) on medium high to high heat in a large, wide pot (8-quart if available) or large, high-sided sauté pan (a 12-inch cast iron pan works great here). Add chopped onions, cook for a couple of minutes, then add garlic.
  2. Add a third of the sliced cabbage to the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and stir to coat with oil and mix with onions. Spread out the cabbage evenly over the bottom of the pan and do not stir until it starts to brown. If the heat is high enough, this should happen quickly. The trick is to have the burner hot enough to easily brown the cabbage, but not so hot that it easily burns. When the bottom of the cabbage is nicely browned, use a spatula to lift it up and flip it, scraping the browned bits as you go.
  3. Once the cabbage in the pan has browned on a couple of flips, add another third of the cabbage to the pan. Mix well, then spread out the cabbage and repeat. You may need to add a bit more olive oil to the pan to help with the browning, and to keep the cabbage from sticking too much to the pan. Once this batch has cooked down a bit and browned, add the remaining third of the cabbage and repeat.

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