Forget Green Beer, Try Corned Beef & Cabernet

St. Patrick’s day is just about here, and even for this guy from the South that means corned beef and cabbage. Chef Andrei has been working on cooking here at the Wine Center for about two weeks, check out what he’s come up with. – Chef Justin.

Tomorrow, March 17th, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; and, it wouldn’t be St. Patty’s without corned beef and cabbage. It is an American tradition to serve this meal on St. Patrick’s Day, started by Irish-Americans in the mid 1800’s.

The term “corned beef” comes from ancient times when refrigeration was non-existent and people would preserve meat by salting it. Rock salt, about the size of a “kernel” of corn was used. Beef was placed into crocks and packed with the “corns of salt” to cure over the winter. The cured beef was served at spring celebrations after a long cold winter.

Here at the Wine Center, we like to cure untrimmed whole beef briskets, but sometimes we change it up by using beef tongues instead. The beef brines for 14 days and then it is slow cooked for 3 hours. Both the brisket and tongue are tender and delicious, but the tongue is always a hit.

Below is the recipe that we have used for many years, it was adapted from Alton Brown.

Corned Beef & Cabbage
Pair with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Serves 8


  • ½ gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 10 cloves
  • ¼ cup pink curing salt
  • ½ gallon ice
  • 1 (5-6 lb.) beef brisket
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 large head of cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
  • 8 medium red skinned potatoes, cut in half


  1. Combine water, salt, sugar, spices and pink curing salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to a non-reactive container and add ice. Stir to cool. Place in refrigerator and cool to below 40⁰F. Add brisket and let cure for 14 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is submerged in the brine.
  2. After 2 weeks, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse under cold water. Place in a pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any foam and discard. Cook for 3 hours and then check for tenderness. Add the vegetables and cook for another 30 minutes or until tender. The corned beef should be tender, but not falling apart.
  3. Remove the corned beef and vegetables from the cooking liquid and slice the brisket thinly against the grain. Arrange vegetables and corned beef on a platter and serve.

Chef Andrei Litvinenko is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. He was born and raised in San Francisco in a Russian immigrant family. He grew up working in the family restaurant where he learned to appreciate eastern European cuisine,and grew to love cooking.