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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

St. Patty's Day in June? Dijon Encrusted Corned Beef, Crown Royal Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Irish Soda Bread

I know what you're thinking. Who eats Corned Beef when it's not St. Patrick's Day? Well,  this year when purchasing my Corned Beef for our annual dinner on March 17th, I had forgotten that I had already bought one a week prior and wound up with two. So I froze one to use at a later date. I'm not a huge fan of the "boiled meal" and don't like cabbage, so a few years ago, I came up with this variation of the old standard and because it is one of my picky eaters favorite meals, we do tend to have it several times a year. 

Dijon Encrusted Corned Beef
5-6 lb. Corned Beef Brisket
¼ Cup Grey Poupon® Dijon Mustard

Rinse corned beef off and place fat side up in a large pot of water; making sure to completely cover the meat. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 3 hours; adding water as needed to cover the top of the brisket. Remove meat from the water, trim any visible fat and place fat side up in a baking dish. Add Dijon mustard to the top of the meat and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the mustard is browned. Let cool 5-10 minutes, and then slice diagonally across the grain. 

I get tired of eating regular, plain old mashed potatoes. And..since I only had one potato in the house and several sweet potatoes, I figured I'd make mashed sweet potatoes instead. I have only made mashed sweet potatoes a few times but the recipe I use is more of a casserole style with heavy cream and pecans that I make for Thanksgiving and I wanted something a little less fattening. So I went searching for a new recipe online and came across one for Bourbon Sweet Potatoes; which coincidentally also had a ton of fattening ingredients in it. Then I decided that if Bourbon goes well with them, why not Crown Royal (and we always have Crown Royal!). So I tweaked the recipe I found, reducing the amount of butter, using 2% milk (which is a staple in this house over whole milk), and threw in some brown sugar and cinnamon for good measure. I love when my little kitchen experiments come together and they taste good. 

Crown Royal Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1 ½ lbs. Fresh Sweet Potatoes
3 Tbsp. Crown Royal Whiskey
2 Tbsp. Butter                                 
¼ Cup 2% Milk
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Kosher Salt

Put cut potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender with a fork. Drain water. Add Crown Royal, butter, milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Blend together with an electric mixer until mixture is creamy. Serves 4.

Well, I didn't actually make the Irish Soda Bread on this day, but I have made it often enough that I DO have the correct measurements for everything. I just thought it might make a great addition to share with this meal in case anyone wanted to try it out for themselves. Growing up, I never used to like this bread. It always seemed dry whenever I had it out.  But about 20 years ago, when I was still working in the food business, our pastry chef made this Irish Soda Bread that was out of this world! It is so moist and I probably put on about 5 pounds the week of St. Patrick's Day every year because of it. I make these loaves of bread, slice them thick but yet thin enough to fit in my toaster, toast them until they're golden brown and add salted butter. (Not the healthiest breakfast but I do only make this once a year!). I did make some slight changes to the original recipe since I don't particularly like a lot of raisins or caraway seeds, but if you like them simply add another 1/2 Cup Raisins and 1 1/2 tsp. Caraway Seeds to this recipe. 

Irish Soda Bread
7 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Raisins
1 Stick Salted Butter, softened
2 1/2 Cups Low Fat Buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients using only 6 cups of the flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the raisins and buttermilk. Mix with your hands until well incorporated and turn onto a lightly floured board; gradually using the remaining 1 cup of flour. Kneed 10-12 times. (The dough shouldn't be too sticky. If it is, gradually add a little more flour as needed). Split into 2 round loaves and cut a deep X into the top. Lightly spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and place the loaves. Bake at 350°F for approximately 50 minutes or until when you stick a knife in the center, it comes out clean. 


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