Northeast Times

Enjoy a traditional Irish dish

Brisket is a fat-marbled cut of beef from the front of the cow in the lower chest area.

Corned beef and cab­bage is a tra­di­tion­al Ir­ish dish, and a fa­vor­ite meal on St. Patrick’s Day. While the fla­vor com­bin­a­tions are de­li­cious, some may want to cut back on the fat and cal­or­ies. By us­ing my tips for pre­par­ing the brisket, and my re­cipe for Slow Cooked Brisket and Cab­bage, you can have all the fla­vors of this Ir­ish dish with far less cal­or­ies.

   Brisket is a fat-marbled cut of beef from the front of the cow in the lower chest area. Slow cook­ing ten­der­izes this tough cut of meat. 

   Ac­cord­ing to Bowes and Church’s Food Val­ues of Por­tions Com­monly Used, the low­est cal­or­ie brisket is the one in which all the fat is trimmed. The type of brisket also makes a dif­fer­ence. The flat half brisket would have 191 cal­or­ies and 6 grams of fat per 3.5-ounce serving. The same amount of the point half brisket pre­pared the same way has 244 cal­or­ies and nearly 14 grams of fat. Whole brisket has 218 cal­or­ies and 10 grams of fat. Leav­ing 1/4-inch trim of fat al­most doubles the cal­or­ies in all of the brisket cuts. 

   “Trimmed” brisket has al­most all of the out­er fat re­moved, while “pack­er-trimmed” brisket has a thick out­er lay­er of fat. Us­ing a few tips, you can re­duce some of the fat in the less ex­pens­ive, pack­er-trimmed cuts of brisket while sav­ing money. 

   Cook the meat a day ahead of time and put the pot in the re­fri­ger­at­or. Once the meat cools, the fat will harden and can be skimmed off. 

   Mar­ket-trimmed brisket is a little more ex­pens­ive, but saves time be­cause it already has been prepped for you. This type of brisket is ideal for us­ing in a slow cook­er. The meat will cook in its own juices and come out moist and tender.

   Pota­toes are an­oth­er fa­vor­ite Ir­ish food. Pota­toes are not that high in cal­or­ies and have no fat, but mak­ing them with lots of but­ter and high-fat milk adds cal­or­ies. 

   This Slow Cooked Brisket and Cab­bage re­cipe uses tra­di­tion­al in­gredi­ents in a fla­vor­ful, lower-fat Ir­ish meal. 

Slow-Cooked Brisket and Cab­bage

1 (3-pound) trimmed, bone­less beef brisket
 

2 ta­ble­spoons Di­jon or stone ground mus­tard

1 tea­spoon salt

1 tea­spoon black pep­per

2 large bak­ing pota­toes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut in­to 4-inch pieces

1 large onion, peeled and cut in­to 8 wedges

4 gar­lic cloves, peeled and cut in half

3 large car­rots, cut in­to 4-inch pieces

1 small head green cab­bage (about a pound)cut in­to 8 wedges

1 tea­spoon ground ginger

1 tea­spoon ground cloves

1 tea­spoon hot red pep­per flakes

2 whole bay leaves

1/4 cup apple cider vin­eg­ar

4 to 5 cups hot wa­ter, to cov­er the meat by at least 1 inch

1. Rub the brisket on both sides with the mus­tard and 1/2 tea­spoon of the salt and 1/2 tea­spoon of the black pep­per. Set aside on a plate. 

2. Place the pota­toes, onions, gar­lic cloves, car­rots and cab­bage in the bot­tom of the slow cook­er. Sea­son with the re­main­ing 1/2 tea­spoon of the salt and pep­per, the ginger, cloves and red pep­per flakes. Place bay leaves in the pot. Stir to com­bine. Place brisket on top of the ve­get­ables.

3. Pour in the apple cider vin­eg­ar, and the hot wa­ter to cov­er the meat by at least 1 inch. Cov­er and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours, or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, un­til the meat is fork tender.

4. Re­move the brisket from the slow cook­er to a cut­ting board and let it stand for 10 minutes be­fore sli­cing. Thinly slice brisket across the grain and put on a serving plat­ter. Re­move the ve­get­ables with a slot­ted spoon and put them on a plat­ter. Pour the juices from the cook­er in­to a gravy boat and serve with brisket.

   An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­vapro.com 

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