Corned Beef and Parsley Sauce

“Raw” Corned Beef is simply beef (in our case brisket) that has been brined in a solution of salt, sugar, curing salt, and spices. After seven days, the brined beef is ready to be cooked. Here is my recipe (abridged from Cooking Meat), for the whole process, although at this stage in the game I assume you’ll want a pre-brined brisket and skip ahead to the poaching part.

Have a safe and happy St Patrick’s Day everyone!

Corned Beef and Parsley Sauce
abridged from Cooking Meat

Serves 8

Corned Beef


4-5 lb beef brisket, from the flat end

4 L water
4 whole garlic cloves
1 ¼ cup g salt
½ cup  granulated sugar
3 tbsp curing salt
3 Tbsp pickling spice (divided)
1 large carrot, cut in large dice
1 celery stalk, cut in large dice
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves

Parsley Sauce


1 cup milk
¼ onion, thinly sliced
3 whole cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp butter, cold
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup hot braising liquid from the corned beef
1 cup finely chopped curly parsley
2 tsp English mustard powder


To brine the beef, see steps 1 and 2. If just cooking a pre-brined beef, skip to step 3.

  1. In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the garlic, salt, sugar, curing salt, and 2 Tbsp of the pickling spice, whisking to dissolve the salts and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place the brisket in a nonreactive container and cover with the brine. Set a small plate on the brisket to weigh it down and keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 7 days, checking periodically to make sure it’s still submerged. If needed, place another plate on top to weigh it down further.
  3. After a week, discard the brine and soak the brisket in cold water for about 2 hours, changing the water every 20 minutes to rinse off the excess salt.
  4. Place the brined beef in a pot large enough to hold it without crowding, cover with cold water, and add the remaining 1 Tbsp pickling salt, the onions, carrot, celery, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Do not add salt. Bring the brine to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, cover, and allow to gently simmer until the meat yields when pricked with a fork, about 4 hours. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  5. While the beef is simmering, prepare the parsley sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk with the onions, cloves, and bay leaves. When the milk begins to simmer, remove it from the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes to infuse.
  6. Melt the butter in a separate pot over medium heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously to blend. Allow this roux to cook just until golden, about 5 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then very slowly and gradually whisk it into the roux, until the sauce is emulsified.
  7. When all the milk has been added, whisk in the hot braising liquid. Add the parsley and mustard powder, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and purée in a blender (or use an immersion blender). Pour the lovely green sauce into a gravy boat.
  8. To serve, slice the corned beef and arrange on a serving platter. Serve hot with the parsley sauce alongside.

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