Beef brisket can be a tough cut, but the price point is often alluring. This Irish style boiled dinner recipe will help you overcome the challenge in style.

3-1/2 to 4 pound beef brisket
2 12-ounce bottles dark, robust beer
1 – 3 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 – 6 cloves garlic, cleaned and chopped
2 – 3 cups leeks, well washed
1 large onion, cleaned and sliced
3 – 4 large carrots; scrub and chop into 2 – 3-inch pieces
4 – 6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1-pound medium to small turnips; peel and quarter
2-pounds green cabbage, choose 2 small heads if possible

Prepare the garlic, leeks and onion by washing, cleaning and chopping as necessary. Wash and chop the parsley and give the brisket a quick rinse. Put the olive oil in a lidded heavy bottom Dutch oven and sauté the garlic, leeks and onion over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

When the vegetables in the Dutch oven begin to become tender, add chopped parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns. Sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Add salt and the rinsed brisket, beer and enough water to bring the liquid level up 3/4 – 1-inch above the brisket. Leave the heat on medium high, but don’t let it boil. Watch the pot. When it begins to come to a lively simmer, adjust the heat to bring it to a slow simmer, cover and reduce the heat further to maintain a slow simmer. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and simmer slowly for 3-1/2 – 4 hours, approximately 1 hour per pound of meat.

Approximately 25 minutes before the meat is finished cooking, add the carrots and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the turnips and cabbage. Add salt and pepper to taste; simmer 15 minutes more.

Remove the brisket from the pot and allow to sit, covered, on a nonporous surface, such as a glass or porcelain plate. If rested on a wooden cutting board, the board will drain some of the juices from the meat. After a 10 minute resting period, transfer to a wooden cutting board and slice thinly, 1/4″ or less, across the grain.

Arrange the sliced meat on a warmed plate or shallow bowl. Ladle the cooked vegetables and some of the broth over the top. Serve with a nice dollop of prepared horseradish and a chunk of crusty bread.

Yield: 10 – 12 servings

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And economical dish, Picadillo is Cuban hash. Slightly sweet, slightly tart and full of contrasting textures. I like it best served over hot rice, though mashed potatoes or toasted rolls work in a pinch.

This recipe serves 10, making plenty for two meals for the average family.

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can stewed tomatoes, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup pimento stuffed green olives, halved
½ cup raisins
2 tablespoon capers
½ cup tomato juice
Tabasco (I prefer Crystal Sauce) to taste

Brown the onion and green pepper in the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add garlic during the last 3 – 4 minutes and sauté lightly. Reserve onion, pepper and garlic in a dish while you brown the meats in the same pot; stirring frequently to break into small pieces. By using the same pot, the meat will pick up some of the flavor of the seasonings as it browns.

Drain the meat to remove excess fat. Return the cooked meat, onion, pepper and garlic to the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Adjust salt, pepper and Tabasco (I prefer “Crystal Sauce”) to taste.

Serve over hot rice.

Leftovers freeze well.

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