When it comes to tasty slow-cooked soul food, the tastes of Ireland show through in the juicy, delectable corned beef and cabbage. With roots at the gastropub Againn and a mix of Southern flair at Art & Soul, Chef Wes Morton has been hailed as having the most tender, to-die-for corned beef in the district. Here he shares his recipe for corned beef with cider-braised cabbage.
Chef Wes Morton
Art & Soul
415 New Jersey Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
From Louisiana to the nation’s capital, Chef Morton combines his classical training to simple soul food at Art and Soul. With training at the New England Culinary Institute and a cooking pedigree that includes Michelin-starred Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley, Chef Morton focuses on keeping food local and bringing the best of the farms to the table. In D.C., his kitchen credentials boast Circle Bistro, Cityzen and Michel Richard’s Citronelle. His infamous corned beef recipe was perfected during his tenure as executive chef at Againn before taking the reigns at Art and Soul.
This recipe is for a 40-lb brisket, but can be sized up or down depending on your needs. The brisket freezes really well or can be used for sandwiches listed below.
- 40 lb brisket cut beef
- 10 liters water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup pink curing salt
- 2 lbs and 6 oz of kosher salt
- Mix the water, sugar and salts together until dissolved in a container large enough to hold the brisket and liquid. Ensure that the brisket is submerged, and cover and refrigerate for at least 28 days for maximum tenderness.
- When the cooking day arrives, heat the oven to 275 degrees F. In the meantime, place a rack in a pan with the brisket on top of the rack. Fill with water so that it comes just under the rack.
- Cover the pan with loose foil, but ensuring that everything is sealed, and then cook for 6 to 8 hours. The brisket is ready when a fork can easily be inserted.
- Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F and take the foil off, allowing the outside to crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the brisket from the oven and allow to rest 45 minutes before carving.
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Cider Braised Cabbage
- 1 head of green cabbage sliced thinly
- 2 thinly sliced Spanish onions
- 5 garlic cloves sliced paper thin
- 2 thick grated fuji apples
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup of Tasso ham, Andouille sausage or thick bacon diced
- Enough marinade to cover the cabbage, 2-to-1 ratio of cider to cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup rendered fat (pork or duck)
- Combine the sliced cabbage, onion, garlic, apples salt and sugars in a large bowl with your hands to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
- Add the marinade so it covers the mixture and allow to sit for 24 hours covered with a towel at room temperature.
- Strain out the cabbage and set aside the liquid. In the meantime, cook the pork products in the fat until they caramelize and leave a crust at the bottom of the pan, then deglaze with a bit of the marinade.
- Once the mixture gets thick, add the cabbage and turn the heat up to high for 10-15 minutes. Add the rest of the marinade and the bay leaves and continue cooking until the cabbage becomes tender and the marinade becomes thickened.
With those leftovers, Chef Morton recommends the corned beef and cabbage sandwich with the aforementioned ingredients on a kaiser or brioche bun slathered with horseradish creme fraiche. You can make the horseradish creme fraiche at home by taking equal parts of freshly grated horseradish, white wine, white wine vinegar and creme fraiche whipped all together.
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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isn’t enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.