Sunday, March 16, 2014

RaceDay Recipes: Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I grew up in a household that avoided boiled dinners like the plague. Thus, when I married into a bona fide Irish family, I was introduced to the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage and promptly wondered why I have been denied this meal my entire life.  It is made of a fatty and salty cut of meat, but if you ignore suggestions to pour another pile of salt into the pot, the brine remains as seasoning for the massive servings of veggies and the fat will boil off. So, once a year, enjoy! Wear a little green and indulge.

Cook time: 90 minutes (20 min. per pound. Min. 90 minutes recommended)

You prep your veggies while the beef enjoys its initial bath in the pot.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

1 2 lb. flat cut corned beef
1 parsnip
2 carrots
2 medium sized potatoes
2 small yellow onions
1/4 of a head of cabbage
(Turnip is also a traditional part of the meal, but I like parsnips. Add any other root veggies you may enjoy as well.)


Place beef, fatty-side up, in the bottom of a large pot. Pour cold water over the beef until it is entirely covered. Cook on medium-low heat to bring to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes.

While beef simmers, peel and chop all vegetables into 3/4" cubes. To help remind you which veggie goes in next, take a large mixing bowl and place chopped cabbage, then onions, then potatoes, carrots and parsnip on top.

At 40 minutes, drop in parsnips and carrots. Continue simmering 30 minutes. Add hot water to pot to keep meat from drying out on top.

Add potatoes and onion. Continue simmering 10 minutes.

Add cabbage. Simmer 10 minutes.

Test beef for tenderness. A fork should slide through with little resistance. All vegetables should be fork soft.

Add time as needed.

Remove beef from pot. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Drain vegetables and place in large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley. Slice beef across the grain with sharp knife, as thick or thin as you prefer.

Serve with your favorite mustard.

There will be leftovers! Which work well warmed over or minced into your very own corned beef hash.

This meal was born from large farming families with ingredients that were always on hand. It didn't intimidate the cooks back then, don't let its simplicity fool you into thinking it's harder to prepare now.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

RaceDay Recipes: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Skillet

Welcome back! With a new NASCAR season, we have a whole pile of new recipes that are never daunting to whip together.  Today we have a hearty Sausage and Egg Breakfast Skillet.  One pot. Lots of flavor and loaded with enough protein to keep you energized until the late afternoon Phoenix race arrives.

Prep time: 5 min.
Cook time: 20-25 min.
Total time: 30 min.
Serves 2-3 hearty portions

1/2 lb. Your favorite ground sausage (not links)
1 large potato
4 eggs
2 tblsp. chopped chives
A quarter of a sweet onion
3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Cholula Sauce (Smokier, sweeter hot pepper sauce)
Bacon Crumbles
Sour cream
Salt & Pepper to taste

1.)  Preheat oven to 350F. Heat large deep ovenproof skillet on stove top over medium-high flame.  Dice onion. Brown ground sausage and toss onion into the pot. Heat until onions are glassy.

2.)  Chop potato into small cubes. You don't need to peel them. Add to pan.  The fat from the sausage provides enough oil. Likewise, the seasoning from the sausage will season the potatoes. Stir occasionally to provide even heating throughout. However, letting the mix sit for a few minutes between stirring allows the ingredients to nicely brown, increasing the flavors. Don't fear the color!

3.) While the potatoes cook, in a bowl crack and whip the eggs. Set aside.  Shred the cheese and set aside.

4.) When potatoes begin to brown, add the eggs and mix in.  Toss in chives and Cholula Sauce to taste. Stir once to blend. Top with shredded cheese and bacon bits.

5.) Place skillet into the oven until cheese is brown and melted. Just a few minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two.

6.) Serve with sprinkle of chives and dollop of sour cream.

7.) Enjoy!