Braised Corned Beef with Red Wine Marinade

An 8- to 10-pound Corned Beef Brisket (or other cut of Corned Beef)

Two big, fat sweet onions

A big fat old carrot

A few ribs of celery

3 Bay leaves

Whole black peppercorns

3 Tbs. Colman's (or equivalent) dry mustard powder

A (750 ml) bottle of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir (or any other red wine you prefer)

Open the package of Corned Beef and drain the liquid. Do not, however, rinse the meat at all. Place the meat in a non-reactive crockery pot or Dutch Oven that's just large enough to hold the meat without much room remaining. You may need to push the meat into the pot so that it "plumps" and fits just righty-tighty.

Peel the onions and remove the tough "core" from the bottom of each. Cut the onions into thick (1/4") slices. Peel the carrot and slice it coarsely. Wash the celery and slice it coarsely. Mix the vegetables together in a bowl (you're making Mire Poix here, even if you didn't know it!) and then push the vegetables all up around the meat in the pot. Pack the vessel full! The goal is to have just enough room for the meat, and the veggies add volume, too. That way when we add our wine the wine will cover the meat and veggies; filling the pot.

Place the Bay Leaves, peppercorns and mustard atop the meat, then pour the wine all over. Place the whole affair on the counter (so long as it's not very hot indoors) and leave it to marinate for at least three hours; preferably six.

Now, here's the trick. Heat the oven to 175 degrees fahrenheit. Pop the corned beef in there, uncovered, and let it cook for at least eight hours. Ten is even better.

Do not, under any circumstances, allow the temperature to rise above 200 degrees fahrenheit. If that happens you'll have a rubbery mess. The goal with long, slow cooking is to have a product that's extremely tender ("falling-apart" tender) with the fat that's throughout the meat almost "melting away."

Yank the meat out of the (now juice-filled) pot and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes. Slice it in 1/4" slices and serve with Horseradish cream sauce, mustard, or as a sandwich with sauerkraut and perhaps some Swiss Cheese and Russian Dressing.

This recipe yields meat that's rosy-colored, thick-grained and very, very moist and tender. The fat that surrounds the meat melts during the long-cooking process and adds extra beefy goodness. The wine dispatches some of the saltiness that many find unpleasant about corned beef.

The Debutante noted that only in the U.S. is this kinda meat called corned beef. In the U.K. it's "salt beef"... corned beef comes in a can. It also occurred to me that you can use an un-salted beef brisket, too. Just add salt to the marinade (as much as you dare) and proceed.

Horseradish Cream Sauce

This rich sauce is a splendid addition to a slow-cooked corned beef brisket...

1 Cup Butter

4 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 cup light cream

2 Tbs. strong, prepared horseradish, drained of the liquid

a pinch of nutmeg

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook on low heat until most of the moisture (the "whey") evaporates; leaving a cloudy but oily melted butter solution. Turn up the heat until the melted butter nearly boils and sprinkle the flour into the butter. Whisk the mixture until the flour starts to cook -- but don't let it brown (like a roux). What you're making is a roux but not a fragrant one. This is a simple, simple sauce without any complexity of flavor.

Once the flour's thoroughly incorporated and you've checked that there aren't any lumps, slowly add the chicken stock, until the sauce cooks and comes up thick. Add the heavy cream to thin the sauce a bit. Heat the cream through thoroughly. Now, take the sauce off of the heat and incorporate the horseradish and nutmeg. Check the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This sauce should not be boiled or else it will "break," turning into a greasy mess. It'll remain cohesive so long as you use moderation when heating it.

You can add snipped chives or chopped parsley for color. We prefer to leave it alone; juxtaposed with the rosy-colored Corned Beef; the white color of this sauce is just fine.

If you've some of the sauce left-over, you can chop some smoked salmon up into the sauce, microwave it, and serve it atop eggs on toast. Add a few spoonfuls of Romanoff black Sturgeon caviar if you want to escalate this dish to Champagne-worthiness.

A gluten-intolerant member of E2 asked what to do about the flour in this situation. The white Bechamel sauce described above can be replaced with a simple mixture of sour cream, horseradish, salt and pepper and will work just fine.

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