Irish Stew Sandwich With Corned Beef, Guinness Caramelized Onions And Soda Bread
When cooking a brisket in a household of only two people, the problem is you have meat for days. DAYS.
The initial meal can get you through at least a couple of nights. For the inaugural meal, I slow-braised the weighty side of beef in a pool of beef stock (with a healthy splash of Guinness) along with bobbing bits of onion, potato, multicolor carrots and pickling spices – classic pot roast style elevated by the substitution of savory, salty pink corned beef, you can feast on that for at least a day or two.
And then, the sandwiches begin.
Sure, you can tuck some nuggets of beef into a pasty or empanada or under the doughy hood of a pot pie. There will be time for that. But first – always – sandwiches.
With such a simple solution to transform leftovers, it is key to play with textures to keep things interesting. For this lunch or dinner delight, the base is soft, chewy stewed meat, so adding some bright, fresh or crunchy elements will invite contrast and keep things from feeling one-note or heavy. Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I am nothing if not on-holiday-theme, let’s draw inspiration from classic Irish fare to select our layering components. Many traditional Irish dishes feature some combination of carrots, onions, cabbage or potatoes – so we’ll draw from that list.
Start your Dagwood-style masterpiece with a twist on Irish soda bread. A simple quickbread leavened by the interaction of buttermilk and baking soda, this soda bread uses a mix of all-purpose and buckwheat flour, because I can’t leave well enough alone. All AP flour is perfectly fine, but I like the nutty sweetness and cool, gray tone buckwheat adds. Also, buckwheat is a gluten-free flour, meaning cutting it in with the AP flour will make the dough slightly more forgiving – buckwheat won’t develop tough gluten strands during mixing the way straight AP flour does. A mix of seeds and nuts give the bread a pleasant crunch, and the addition of some shredded Kerrygold cheddar in the batter and on top of the loaf is never unwelcome.
If you don’t feel like making your own loaf, soft, pillowy potato rolls would also hug the fillings nicely, their smaller size making for great sliders.
Now that you’re set up for sandwich success, onto the fillings. Grated carrots are a complementary switch from the tender, braised version featured in the original dish, so adding a layer of sweet, raw crunch against the tender, salty beef will keep things in the same flavor profile while adding new interest.
Caramelized onions bless anything they touch. Sweet and mellow, they turn into burnished candy when sauteed slowly over low heat. Deglazing with the bitter coffee notes of a thick, creamy Guinness Stout gives the onions complexity, along with a dose of heft and body. Keep the roasted/fresh texture balance even by thinly shredding some tendrils of light, grassy Napa cabbage to pile on top.
A layer of piquant, grainy Dijon mustard will cut cleanly through the mellow beef and onions and echo the flavors of the corned beef spice blend, a mix of crushed bay, coriander, allspice and a preponderance of mustard seeds.
Put it all together, and you’ve just extended the useful life of your leftover corned beef. Sláinte, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 sprigs thyme (optional)
- 2 Tbsp Guinness Stout
- Olive oil
- 2-3 slices leftover corned beef (see recipe below)
- 2 slices Irish soda bread (see recipe below), or potato rolls/other sturdy sandwich bread
- 1/4 cup thinly-sliced Napa cabbage
- 1/4 cup Guinness caramelized onions
- 1/4 cup grated fresh carrot
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh parsley (optional)
- Heat your pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the pan, heat until rippling.
- Add your sliced onions and thyme, seasoning with sugar and salt. Stir once to coat evenly, then leave alone until you notice slight browning on the onions, approximately 4-6 mins.
- Stir the onions and this point and drop the heat to medium low or low - you want the onions to brown very slowly, drawing out the sugars and mellowing the flavor. Stir occasionally to make sure onions arent sticking (if you notice they stick considerably, you can deglaze with a few tablespoons of water).
- When the onions are consistently soft and browned, deglaze with 1/4 cup Guinness, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Reduce until onions have absorbed most of the moisture, then remove from heat and reserve.*
- Assemble ingredients - spread bread with mustard, then pile with beef, grated carrots, Guinness onions and napa cabbage. Top with remaining bread. Squish slightly to fit in your mouth 🙂
- *Use any leftover caramelized onions in breakfast burritos or scrambled eggs, on top of steaks, or mixed into rice or grains as a side.
- By Jenny Clawson
- One package corned beef brisket with spice packet (2-4 lbs)
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 russet potato, roughly chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 quart beef stock/broth
- 1/2 cup Guinness Stout beer
- 2 cups braising liquid
- 3 Tbsp softened butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- Kosher salt/pepper
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Rinse brisket thoroughly, rubbing to get off residual brine.
- Place brisket in Dutch oven, then arrange the vegetables around it.
- Pour in stock and Guinness, then add water if necessary until brisket is submerged.
- Place, covered into oven, and cook for 5 hours or until pulls easily when pierced with fork.
- Remove from liquid to cool slightly, then slice against the grain and place on platter. With a slotted spoon, arrange vegetables around brisket.
- Pour two cups braising liquid and pour into a sauce pan. Heat on medium high.
- In a separate bowl, mash softened butter and flour together to form a paste (it's okay to microwave the butter for a few seconds to achieve this).
- Scoop butter mix into sauce pan and whisk until dissolved. Stir until thickened - when the liquid begins to boil, the gravy will start to thicken!
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour*
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Guinness
- 1/4 cup mixed seeds/nuts (I used 1 Tbsp each of millet, sunflower seeds, pepitas and hemp seeds, but whatever you have on hand is fine!)
- 1/4 cup grated Kerrygold cheddar cheese, with a pinch reserved for the top of the loaf
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Mix all dry ingredients (including cheese and nut mix) in a bowl. Pour in wet ingredients and mix until combined, kneading lightly if necessary to form a ball of dough you can pick up.
- Place ball of dough on a generously floured surface. Pat into a round 2-3 inches high and 6-8 inches wide, then lightly sprinkle with flour, dusting with your hands for an even coat.
- Gently flip the dough onto a cast iron skillet or baking sheet. With a sharp knife, slice a plus sign into the center of the dough, slicing just a half inch or so deep. Sprinkle with reserved cheese, then bake in oven for 35-40 mins or until sounds hollow when tapped.
- Let rest for at least 30 mins or until cool.
- *AP flour as a sub is fine