Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saint Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day.  In our house, that means corned beef and cabbage!  I’ve learned over the years that corned beef and cabbage is one of those dishes that people either love or hate.  It does not actually have its roots in Ireland, but in America.  For a quick history, see the Wikipedia article on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Regardless of where it originated, it has become a Saint Patrick’s day tradition across the United States.  (I’d be interested to know what other countries eat on Saint Patrick’s Day.  International readers, please chime in on the comments!)

Perhaps someday I will brine my own corned beef, but for now I just buy it.  In the United States, most corned beef is made from brisket and is sold as “flat cut” or “point cut.”  The point cut is fattier and a little tougher, making it less expensive, so that’s what I buy.  The extra fat also makes it tastier and can help keep it from drying out during cooking.

The key to ending up with tender corned beef is to cook it low and slow with a little liquid.  The slow cooker is the perfect appliance for the job.  Resist the urge to add too much water.  Also, be sure to slice the meat across the grain to increase tenderness.

I always add potatoes to my corned beef and cabbage.  Because red potatoes were on sale this week, I went ahead and bought them.  But russets work too.

Saint Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage
About 5 red potatoes (enough to cover bottom of slow cooker in single layer)
1 corned beef brisket
1 cabbage
1 c. water

Cut medium/large potatoes into quarters, small potatoes into halves.  Place in bottom of slow cooker.

Place brisket on top of potatoes, adding juice and spices from package.

After washing cabbage, peel off 2-3 outer leaves and discard.  Cut cabbage into quarters and remove center stem.

Place cabbage on top of brisket.  If cabbage sticks up above top of crock a little, no worries.  It will cook down.  Add water.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours (preferable) or on high for 4-6 hours.  Remove meat to platter and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing across the grain.

Be sure to cut across the grain in long strokes with a sharp,
non-serrated knife.

The potatoes and cabbage absorb a ton of flavor from the
meat.  I eat them with a little butter, salt and pepper.



Susan said...

We bought that same corned beef from Vons (on sale for 99¢/lb) and I was looking forward to my first attempt at having "traditional" St. Paddy's day dinner. Too bad my slow cooker shattered on our porcelain sink when we were cleaning it last night. Now I have to find another way to cook my not-so-great cut of meat low and slow without it :(

Sumiko said...

Sad!! You can do the same thing on the stove, throw it all in a large pot and simmer for a few hours. You might need to keep adding more water to account for more evaporation and might need to keep the cabbage out until later. I've never actually cooked it this way so I can't give you specifics. You can also put all the ingredients in an oven-save pot or roasting dish with a tight-fitting lid or foil. Start the oven out at 350 for about 15 minutes to heat up the cooking vessel, then reduce heat to 170-200 and cook 4-8 hours respectively. This will mimic the temperature of the slow cooker. Once again, I've never actually done this, so I can't give specifics. Hope something works for you!

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