Our second spring meal is traditional at our houses for St. Patrick’s Day. Corned beef brisket is a high-fat protein that’s also high in sodium, so we used to only allow ourselves to indulge on this special occasion. But, if the fat of the corned beef brisket is removed before cooking, it becomes a lean protein. It now lacks the flavor that the fat added, but by using an onion, celery, and garlic in the cooking liquid, some of that flavor is regained. With the corned beef, of course, we serve boiled cabbage and potatoes-this time teaming the potatoes with some baby carrots. For dessert, we suggest a crisp apple, pear, or maybe some seedless grapes.
1 3 1/2-pound cured corned beef brisket, trimmed of all visible fat
1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
1 large rib celery, cut into 3 pieces
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice
1 large bay leaf
1 2-pound head green cabbage
1 pound tiny new potatoes, quartered
1 pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 teaspoons reduced-fat margarine
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Place the brisket in a large pot. Cover with 4 quarts of water and add the onion, celery, garlic, pickling spice, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Remove the brisket from the pot and keep warm.
Strain the brisket cooking liquid through a sieve and discard the solids. Return the strained cooking liquid to the pot.
Trim the outer leaves from the cabbage and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges. Carefully remove the core parts. Place the cabbage in the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes in another pot and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrots to the pot and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Drain and toss the vegetables with the parsley, margarine, lemon zest, and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.
To serve, slice the brisket on the diagonal and arrange on a serving platter. Add the cabbage wedges and potato-carrot mixture to the platter and sprinkle the cabbage with the remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Serve at once.
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