This recipe requires a bit of prep time due to the brining (or corning) process, so be sure to factor that into your cooking plans. Also, this is considered a New England style corning process, so your end result won’t be bright pink (and that’s ok!). If you would like pink corned beef, you’ll need to go and find some saltpeter or pink curing salt. You can find this online or in some specialty butcheries. You’ll want to add 2 tablespoons of this curing salt to your brine.
Step 1: Brining the Brisket
2 pounds beef brisket, untrimmed
2 quarts of water
1 cup of sea salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
3/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 crushed bay leaves
Large lidded container or brining bag
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 4-5 quart pot and add your brine spices to the water. Stir continuously until all the elements have dissolved (about 3 minutes). Once dissolved, remove from heat and cool completely. While the brine is cooling, remove your untrimmed brisket and begin to trim the fat, leaving about a 1/4 inch on the ends of your cut (be sure to use a sharpened knife to ensure an easy cut). Do NOT discard the fat. You’ll be needing it soon!
Once the brine is completely cooled, (Let the brine cool to room temperature at room temperature or cool using an ice bath before refrigerating. It’s very important, not to place your meat in warm liquid.) place the brisket into the brine in a large container with a cover or in a brine bag (you can purchase this at your local grocery store) making sure that the brisket is completely submerged. You will keep the brisket in the fridge for 4-7 days turning each day and stirring the brine. This brining process is what makes your brisket corned beef.
Next, grab that trimmed fat (I told you you’ll be needing it!). We’ll be rendering the trimmed pieces to use with our potatoes. Rendering essentially means to cook the fat out of. When you render, you’ll be left with a rich oil to cook with. Cut the trimmings into small pieces and place in a cast-iron pan with a little water, just enough to cover the bottom and not scorch your fat. Turn the heat on low and simmer until the fat has crisped. Be sure to add the water prior heating the fat, if you add it later, this will cause the fat to spatter. Pour the fat through a strainer into a jar. Cover and, once cooled, refrigerate. You can discard the remains of the trimmings.
Step 2: Cooking the Corned Beef
Corned beef (that brisket that’s been brining in your fridge)
1 Large yellow onion roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
Vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Mustard seed
1 Tablespoon Whole Allspice
2-4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 crumbled bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
1/2 Tablespoon Pepper corns
After the brisket has been in the brine for 4-7 days take the brisket out of the fridge and rinse under cold water. You need to rinse off the excess salt to make it palatable. Place the meat fat side down in your instant pot, pressure cooker, or slow cooker and top with the onion. You want to place your brisket fat side down so that the broth cooks the meat and not the heat from the pot. Add the pickling spices. Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth until the meat is submerged. Place the lid on the instant pot and select manual pressure for 90 minutes. If using a slow cooker, set to medium or high and leave to cook for 10-12 hours checking back occasionally to make sure there is ample liquid in the pot.
Step 3: Preparing the Dough and Filling
3/4 cup of warm water
2-2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 lb. baby red and gold Potatoes
Reserved rendered Fat
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 to 2/3 cup Hex Ferments sauerkraut or other local sauerkraut
3-4 deli slices of Swiss cheese
1 egg beaten or 1/4 cup of heavy cream
Mustard Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
Stir the yeast into the warm water (95-110 degrees Fahrenheit) in a bowl or measuring cup and let dissolve for 5-7 minutes. Using the hook attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt in a stand mixer. Add the yeast and olive oil, and mix until the dough forms a ball.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and knead the dough until smooth, adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky (about 2-5 minutes). If the dough is too wet, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour over it, knead, and test again. Do this until the dough is soft but not sticky.
Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Take your kneaded dough and transfer it to your oiled bowl, turning it until coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and leave in a warm area or on your counter for about an hour or so or until the dough doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut your potatoes into 1/8 inch slices and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Coat generously with your rendered beef fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until tender, flipping half way through. Remove from oven and set aside.
When the brisket timer has finished, allow for the 10-20 minute pressure release. Remove the meat from the Instant pot and brush off the spices. Place on a cutting board, and allow to rest.
To make the Dipping Sauce, simmer the sugar and water together on medium heat in a small saucepan . After about 5 minutes stir in the mustard and remove from heat.
Roll out your dough into a long rectangle or oval on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Transfer dough and parchment to a cookie sheet to begin building your braided pocket.
Brush your dough down the center with a light coating of the dipping sauce, being sure to leave 2-3 inches on either side uncoated. Reserve the rest of the dipping sauce to use with your finished product.
Layer the Swiss cheese on top of the sauce, then add the slices of the corned beef, potatoes, and top with the sauerkraut. Fill your pocket generously, making sure you are leaving 2-3 inches on either side of your filling.
Slice the dough on either side of the filling into half inch strips. Starting from the top, fold the top lip of the dough over the filling, then fold a strip from the right side of the dough over the top, alternating sides in a braid like design. Pinch the bottom closed.
Brush the top with the egg or heavy cream.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is a golden brown.
Slice into triangles and serve with dipping sauce. Enjoy!!