Thursday, October 1, 2015

He's Gone Plaid - Crockpot Corned Beef with Cracked New Potatoes and Maple-Kissed Brussel Sprouts

Tuesday - It's raining.  It's raining because we are heading over to our storage rooms to do some clearing out. I still have more cooking planned, and some baking.  If we ever get home, because this is a big project.

Turns out that we got a lot done, mostly because once James get started on a project like moving boxes, he can't stop. The man goes into superhyperdrive - in other words, he's gone plaid, like Dark Helmet in "Spaceballs" - and sets the pace for the rest of us. Zoom zoom. A truckload of stuff is headed out and will be part of a community yard sale.  Very satisfying; I can safely say we finally unpacked the basement of our Ronkonkoma house, which is an accomplishment only 25 years overdue. Now if only I could do the same with the multitude of boxes still sitting in my bedroom and dining room.

Kraut Sveckle (Hungarian noodles and cabbage)

These recipes are from Monday's cooking frenzy; they are the kind of cooking prep that works well when you are doing a whole lot of other things on the stovetop, or you're spending the day at home watching an entire season's episodes of Game of Thrones or a James Bond marathon. So while I was fussing with chicken and fruit and Hungarian noodles and cabbage, my crockpot took care of the rest.  It was a long day for both of us.

Crockpot Corned Beef with Cracked New Potatoes and Maple-Kissed Brussel Sprouts

1-3 to 3 1/4 pound corned beef (usually in cryovac, with a seasoning packet)
3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 small bay leaves
1 Knorr beef bouillon cube, broken up
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, white or gold
olive oil
2 pounds fresh Brussel sprouts, trimmed, loose leaves discarded

Rinse the corned beef under cool water, and place into the crockpot, fat side facing up.  Add the contents of the seasoning packet, garlic, and bay leaves.  Add cool water just to cover, cook on high for 3 hours, then check for doneness. If a long cooking fork can go all the way through, the corned beef is done.  Do not overcook or the meat will shred while you are try to slice it.  Remove the corned beef to a baking pan, cover with foil and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric knife and patience to thinly slice the corned beef against the grain, This particular corned beef was a little tough, so I put the slices in a baking dish, spooned in some of the cooking liquid from the crockpot, covered with foil and put in the oven until the meat is tender.

With a strainer, remove the seasoning and bay leaves from the cooking liquid in the crockpot.  Don't worry if you can't get all of it.  Add the uncut potatoes to the crockpot.  Cover and cook on high for about an hour and a half, until they can be pierced with a fork. Now my potatoes turned out to be a little underdone, so I "cracked" them by pressing against them with a potato masher, and placed them in a baking pan. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  Put into a 425 degree oven and let the potatoes roast until as crispy as you like on both sides.

To the remaining cooking liquid, add 2 tablespoons butter and the Brussel sprouts; cover and cook for another 2 hours. I wasn't thrilled with the result for some reason, so I melted some bacon fat and cooked the chopped onion until softened, and then added the drained sprouts.  I still wasn't thrilled with the taste. I think I was getting overtired, so I drizzled on some maple syrup and cooked in the pan a few minutes longer. Now that's good.

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