Ruth Reichl is one of the more well-known food writers in the world, so it makes a horrible kind of sense that her mother was a world-class awful cook. The stories of her mother's dinners, outlined in Reichl's writing, are toe-curling. But, everyone is good at something, and in the case of Mme Reichl, it was her Passover brisket.
This recipe, that Reichl shared with Lidia Bastianich, is cooked, rather cheekily, in the style of an Easter ham. But fret not: this corned beef is deliciously suitable for a Passover dinner, accented with cloves and spiced peaches for a sweet/savory meal to remember.
Corned Beef, Ham-Style
4 pounds whole corned beef brisket
5 bay leaves
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp prepared mustard
¼ cup brown sugar
Spiced peaches (recipe below)
Cover corned beef brisket with water in a large pot. Add the bay leaves and onion. Cook over medium heat about 3 hours, until the meat is very tender.
While the meat is cooking, mix the brown sugar and mustard. Preheat oven to 325.
Take meat from water and remove all visible fat. Insert cloves, as if it were a ham. Cover meat with the mustard/sugar mixture and bake one hour, basting frequently with peach syrup.
Surround meat with spiced peaches and serve.
1 can (15 ounces) peach halves in light syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks (3-1/2 inches)
Drain peaches, reserving juice; set the peaches aside. Pour juice into a saucepan; add brown sugar and lemon and orange juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat; add cinnamon sticks. Reduce heat;
simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add peach halves; heat through. Discard cinnamon sticks. Serve warm or cold.
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[Top photo courtesy Flickr user VirtualErn]
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