Corned beef and St. Patrick’s Day go hand in hand, so Baked Stuffed Potatoes with Corned Beef and Dill Butter was the perfect choice for this week.  Our schedule did not exactly go as planned for us this week, so my recipe had to wait until the weekend.  My original plan was to corn my own beef.  I’ve never made corned beef before, so I thought it would be fun.  I looked into the process of corning beef.  It takes a while.  Like 10 days a while.  Other than the time, it’s actually pretty easy.  You mix together a pretty basic brine mixture and keep a beef brisket submerged for 8-10 days.  After brining you cook the meat with a special mixture of spices for 2 1/2 hours until tender.  I didn’t have time to babysit a brisket for 10 days, but I didn’t want to just use deli corned beef either.  I settled on buying a pre-brined corned beef from the grocery store and cooking it myself.  I didn’t have a 2 1/2 hour block of time to babysit a corned beef cooking either, so I decided to put the slow cooker to work for me.  I put the corned beef with carrots and potatoes in the crockpot before I went to bed Friday night (at midnight if you must know) so I would at least have the meat cooked and ready when I found time to bake my potatoes.  Saturday morning we woke up to a house full of smelly goodness.  I couldn’t resist tasting my first home-cooked corned beef.  I took out half the meat and a good portion of the potatoes and carrots and made corned beef hash.  Topped with a fried egg and served with some Breadsmith butter bread, this was a very filling and festive Saturday breakfast.  And very delicious.

The hour worth of time required to bake potatoes didn’t present itself until Sunday evening.  The author shares her method for baking crisp-skinned potatoes.  The only prep used is rubbing the skin with salt and baking at a high temp (425).  I usually wrap mine in foil, so I decided to give this a try.  I put the potatoes in the oven before leaving for a wake I had to go to.  I left Big Guy in charge of taking them out for me when they were soft.  I liked Maria’s idea of the Crispy Roasted Cabbage as a side dish, so I gave Big Guy instructions for getting that started via text message so it would be close to finished when I got home.  He did an excellent job with both his tasks, so all I had to do when I got home was stuff the potatoes.  That part was pretty darn easy.  All it required was scooping the potato from the skins and mixing it in a bowl with the corned beef, butter, salt, pepper, and dill (couldn’t find fresh so I used dried).  I topped the potatoes with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and popped them back in the oven for 10 min to warm through and melt the cheese.

With so few ingredients in the potatoes, I was anxious to see how much flavor they would have.  In this case, less is more.  The salty meat did a fine job flavoring the potato.  The dill did a good job of brightening the flavors.  The potato skin turned out crispy and salty.  I had to restrain myself from getting some extra butter out to smear all over the skin as I ate it.  The cabbage was the perfect side dish.  Big Guy and I both cleaned our plate.  We really enjoyed it.  I think if I were to make this again I’d be tempted to make the potato more “reuben” and add some sauerkraut and thousand island.  The way the corned beef looked in the potato also made me think about pulled pork in a potato.  And considering the boston butt smoking kick me and my neighbor are on, that may just happen sooner rather than later.  I’m thinking BBQ sauce, jalapenos, and cheese will be involved somehow.