Year after year Man-Meat endures my seasonal holiday “traditions,” I have convinced myself that he hesitantly appreciates my quirky obsessive tendencies. Sure, he cringes at the thought of yet another New Years Pork and Kraut supper, but corned beef? … Well I guess it has never really been a favorite either.
Sauerbraten is a necessary staple in my home, it is about as traditional and culturally significant as it comes for us. Irish food and our faux Irish-ness in general, is kind of an ironic story. My husbands grandfather was adopted by a man with an Irish last name and when I married into the name it kind of became an on going theme for us. We both have some Irish background but not near as much as you would think.
This Irish gig is kind of fun and I really appreciate the rustic, nourishing and hearty recipes that seem to be quintessentially Irish. This year I prepared a beet brined pot roast for our Irish Sunday Supper. I have experimented with this recipe in the past using beef cheeks, brisket and various other cuts of naturally raised beef. I have tweaked brining times and roasting temperatures, and the brine itself also. This recipe is by far my favorite “corned beef substitute.”
This beet brined, braised beef pot roast is reminiscent of corned beef and it is somewhat similar to our beloved sauerbraten as well. The familiarity works to my benefit and unlike traditional corned beef or sauerbraten, it has a much shorter pickling period. (which is convenient) The abundance of garlic and juniper make it quite reminiscent of corned beef, yet it has no nitrates or preservatives. (other than salt and sugar) It is prepared with organic, grass-fed beef and it isn’t salty, funky or dry like conventional corned beef.
Beet Brined: Braised Beef Roast (Quick Corned Beef)
- 1 Chuck Roast or Brisket (Roughly 3-5 pounds)
- 1 Cup Pickled Beet Juice (see note)
- 2-3 Pickled Beets
- 1 Tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/4 Cup Vinegar
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
- 15 Juniper Berries, Whole
- 8 Allspice Berries, Whole
- 8 Cloves, Whole
- 1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
The Night Before (Day 1) Combine salt, sugar, water, beets, pickled beet juice and vinegar in an airtight non-metallic container. Add the roast, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. In a mortar and pestle grind juniper, allspice, cloves and peppercorns until coarsely ground. Add the garlic cloves and smash them into the spice mixture. Scoop the garlic and spice mixture into the container with the roast and marinate overnight.
In The Morning or Afternoon (Day 2) Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Place roast and the brine contents into a lidded dutch oven or casserole. Bake for 2-3 hours or until tender. (a small roast will take 2 hours, A large Brisket will take up to or around 4) Once it is tender allow to rest, covered at room temperature for at least one hour. If you cut into it and serve it immediately it will likely be dry. This dish can even be prepared in advance and gently reheated in it’s juice. Serve with Soda Bread, Colcannon and your favorite root vegetables.
Note: If you do not have homemade pickled beets available combine 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar with 1-2 Grated organic beets, some cloves and a few tablespoons of raw sugar. Bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add 1/2 cup of cold ice water to cool the mixture, and use as directed in the recipe.
For a larger family or for those who entertain, double the brine recipe and use a large beef brisket or two roasts. (For my family a small roast is more than enough.)