And the World's Worst Food Blogger Strikes Again **UPDATED!**

I am so not a food blogger. I don't claim to be, and I definitely never could be. I mean, I cook a lot, but I'm more of a little-of-this-little-of-that type of cook than a recipe follower. On the occasions where I do follow a recipe, you can bet your last dollar that it's not one I created. I love reading food blogs, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that, oh hey, she probably tested this out a few times before writing it up as a post. She even took the time to take pretty pictures of the ingredients and the finished product!

My usual food entry style is to go about my normal business making dinner, end up with something so tasty that I just have to tell you about it immediately, and then decide, "Eff it -- I'll just write it now and update the post with pictures later." Which, of course, I never do. Overachiever, ahoy!

Anyway, this one is another one of those. After it turned out way better than I expected, I had grand plans of doing it again, lovingly photographing, and carefully crafting a post for once in my life. Yeah, and then I used the leftovers last night to make God's gift to grilled cheese and decided, once again, to half ass it for now and post pictures later. I'm sure we're all collectively holding our breath for the update, no? Buckle up for a little something I like to call:

Holy Hell, I Had No Idea Corned Beef Was Delicious

I am half Irish, and growing up, my Nana would usually make a boiled dinner sometime around St. Patrick's Day. My father wouldn't touch a boiled dinner if you paid him (he's a tad on the charmingly high maintenance side), so these dinners usually happened on a night when he had a meeting or business trip. My mom, sister, and I would go to Nana's house for dinner, and having been preparing the meal all afternoon, the house would inevitably stink of feet. Cabbage, yo -- it's what's for dinner. Although I have happy memories of these boiled dinners, I also remember not eating much beyond the boiled potatoes and the meat (smoked shoulder, as I recall) that we would dunk in brown mustard. In fairness, plain boiled turnips and cabbage are kind of gross.

Last year, my mom happened to be visiting around St. Patrick's Day. (My sister and I live about 15 minutes away from each other, and our parents are about 500 miles north, so whenever my dad has a business trip, mom usually comes to visit us. Two kids, one plane ticket. So convenient!) She absolutely looooves the grocery store I shop at (as do I -- I have a strict requirement that we never move outside of Wegmans shopping range), so I took her grocery shopping. As we were perusing all of the amazing offerings, she spotted a corned beef brisket. We thought we might do a festive St. Patrick's Day meal, so I tossed it in the carriage and on we went. Of course, as we were putting the groceries away at home, we acknowledged that boiled dinners are kind of gross and just stuck the meat in the freezer, where it sat until I noticed it last weekend and decided to have a clean out the freezer week.

Now, my experience with corned beef was seriously limited. The only thing I knew for sure was that if you're opposed to tough, stringy meat, then you really needed to cook the crap out of brisket. For this reason, I decided it was a perfect candidate for the Crock Pot. On Wednesday morning, I opened up the defrosted meat and tossed it into the crock pot with the little seasoning packet it had come with. A quick perusal of epicurious told me that onions and beer might be the way to go. As I am a big fan of both onions and beer, I agreed, and into the pot went one vidalia onion cut into big chunks and one bottle of Smithwick's leftover from my dad's Easter visit. I added a smidge of water too, because the liquid level seemed a little low, threw the cover on, and set it to low.

Full disclosure: During the cooking process, I was not expecting even remotely tasty results, as the whole second floor of my house smelled gross. (I will not even tell you how I described it to Mark, as I clearly have more respect for your sensibilities than my husband's.) I checked it around dinner time, and while cooked, it didn't seem quite there yet, so we ordered in. However, as I was headed to bed, I took the meat out to slice, and damn if it wasn't ah-mazing. Into the fridge it went, until I hoovered up several slices while standing over the sink the next day and called it lunch.

I figured dinner would be reubens (YUM), except Mark hates cole slaw and I forgot to buy some for myself, so it ended up as an insanely delicious grilled cheese. Seriously, INSANELY DELICIOUS -- halfway through his sandwich, Mark requested a second one. (Request denied on grounds of insanity, sir; consider your cholesterol!)

In not even remotely close to short, here's what you need to do, immediately if not sooner. Get yourself:

corned beef brisket, 2.5-3.5 lbs., with seasoning packet
1 vidalia onion
1 bottle of beer (your choice, though the Smithwick's was pretty tasty)
1 c water

Add the ingredients to a slow cooker, set it to low, and let it go for 10-12 hours. Then, it's sandwich time. Bear in mind, this is basically a grilled cheese (duh), so I have no idea why I'm writing out instructions, but here they are anyway. For those, you'll need:

corned beef brisket, as prepared above and thinly sliced against the grain
NY style Jewish rye bread, 2 slices per person
mustard of your choice (I used a combination of dijon and honey dijon)
thinly sliced swiss cheese

- Butter one side of each slice of bread, then flip them over and spread with mustard.
- Cover the mustarded side of each slice of bread with swiss cheese.
- Layer the slices of corned beef onto one slice of the cheesed bread per sandwich, then top with the second slice of cheesed bread, buttered side out.
- Transfer the sandwiches to the pre-heated pan (I used an electric frying pan with a lid, set to about 300-325 degrees, and it worked perfectly) and cook over med-lo heat; it's a thick sandwich, so you want to be sure it has time to heat through without burning the bread. Using a covered pan really helps with this.
- When the bottom layer of cheese starts looking a little melty, gently flip the sandwiches over. Note: until the cheese layers are melty enough to glue the meat into the sandwich, you'll need to work carefully.
- That's it, really. Keep the pan covered, and just flip the sandwiches occasionally until they are nice and golden brown, then dig in.

Next time, I am definitely going the Reuben-esque (see what I did there? my fatty sandwich vs. fat women painted by Rubens? no? just me finding that funny? ok, moving on) route and swapping out the mustard for some Russian dressing and cole slaw (forgive me, I haaate sauerkraut).


(And I promise to try to come up with something more interesting than a photo free recipe next time.)

**UPDATE: Turns out that if you make this same sandwich, except swapping out the mustard/corned beef for scrambled eggs with corned beef? It makes a pretty freaking amazing brunch. Who knew?


Post a Comment