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Big Joe’s Corned Beef and Irish Soda Bread [Recipes]

flickr – jeff kubina

BRIODY’S CORNED BEEF

There is nothing like a good saloon. A neighborhood bar is a place where you can go and enjoy the comfort of friends and share family memories. It’s a place to go to get away from everything, a place you can go to regroup.

Briody’s of Rumson was that place for me. My good friends Joe and Peggy Briody provided that “comfort” and haven for 35 years. They closed their doors for good on March 17th 2008, a fitting day to say goodbye. It was a tough day.

Joe’s dad, Joe Briody, migrated from Jersey City to Rumson and opened this great saloon and restaurant, I’ve been going there for years. It was a place where we celebrated baby showers, birthday’s, graduations. Briody’s was a place where we found solace after burying our friends and family, including Joe Briody’s father and my mom, Mary. It was a place where we enjoyed football Sunday, pig roasts, football pools and the battle between the Jets and the Giants.

It was a place where we enjoyed the music of local talent and it was a place where family and friends got together to celebrate the holidays with a cocktail or two. It was a place where you knew the bartenders, hosts and servers, watching them grow up and have families of their own. It’s a place where you were greeted at lunch by a friendly, smiling Peggy and knew that life was good for that hour or two. It was a place you came to get away from it all and hang out with friends.

The regulars in Briody’s were fixtures just like the stools and neon signs. St. Patty’s day at Briody’s was a place to dip yourself in green, stay for long hours, eats lots of delicious corned beef, enjoy the frivolity and laugh about it the next day.

St. Patty’s day was the closest you can come to Mardi Gras in New Jersey. Thanks, Joe and Peggy, for great memories and for providing a lot of comfort for those who walked through your doors.

I asked Joe to share the family’s world famous recipe for Briody’s corned beef. Joe wrote the following: On or about the year 1962, March of course, I a young man of about 6 or 7, watched my grandmother and father in a tiny kitchen of Briody’s of Jersey City as my grandmother, Ann, sweated over a large pot of corned beef. As my father added a pitcher of beer to the pot my eyes lit up, as I was amazed. Since we moved the restaurant to Rumson we had a larger scale restaurant and with that the pot and amount of corned beef increased as well. Just about every month of March we cooked and served about 4,000 lbs of corned beef while in Rumson.

You’ll need:

Corned beef brisket (Briody always used Mosey’s and I would too when I could find it)

½ cup pickling spice per 10 lbs

12 oz. beer (any beer works, many prefer Harp) per 10 lbs.

1 bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey

How to cook the beef:

Fill pot with water till it covers the beef. Add pickling spice and beer. Every hour while cooking add a dash of Jameson in the pot and “one for the cook.” Cook for approximately 3 hours.

Let beef cool off, then trim the fat off . Save the juices for stock to cook cabbage in.

flickr – tavallai

NANA NEWELL’S IRISH SODA BREAD

My cousin Maureen Meahan Kvam sent in this recipe for really good Irish Soda Bread. I adore my cousin Maureen whose great spirit and humor made it so enjoyable to hang out with her. My cousins lived in a large house in Atlantic Highlands that Maureen’s father, our grandfathers and uncles helped build.

I was five or six at the time and living in the Bronx when I would gladly hop in the car with my grandfather, uncles and Maureen’s grandfather, Pop, to head to Atlantic Highlands to build the house. Those days of hanging out listening to my grandfather and Pop and Maureen’s Nana tell stories were priceless.

I loved coming to Atlantic Highlands to see Maureen and her brother, Chip, and their sisters but it was always a bonus when Pop and Nana were at the house. You knew you were going to eat well and you knew you were going to laugh, and laugh hard.

Maureen writes of this great relationship:

My mother’s parents, Nana and Pop, would come down on the bus from the Bronx to Atlantic Highlands for a visit. I eagerly awaited their arrival because they always brought along those lollipops from the 5 & 10 that were packaged in the long string of cellophane. Many nights were spent sitting around the dining room table my Dad had made; having tea and conversations that ultimately produced uncontrollable fits of laughter. I am now my grandparents’ age, living in Minneapolis, sitting at my Dad’s table, drinking tea with family and friends, and still falling into fits of laughter! What a gift!

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups sifted flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups seedless raisins

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons melted butter

How to put it together:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a bread pan (or cake pan for a round loaf). Into a mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients. Add raisins and caraway seeds, mix to coat.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix lightly.

Turn batter into pan. Bake for about 1 hour. Its great warm out of the oven or sliced and toasted with a wee bit of butter and sugar. Serve it with a cup of tea and good conversation.

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