On March 17th almost everyone in the United States claims to have some Irish heritage in their blood. Aside from drinking green colored beer, chewing Guinness, wearing silly leprechaun green paper hats and being a little green around the gills from too much Irish Whiskey, there is the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. There is Turkey for Thanksgiving, Ham for Christmas, Lamb for Easter, Hotdogs and Hamburgers for July 4th and Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day.
Corned Beef (Salt Beef to my British Cousins) has a long, profitable and somewhat checkered history, but more on that in a future post. What is interesting when reading on the history of corned beef is that this lovely brisket brined with seasonings and slow cooked with cabbage is decidedly an Irish-American adopted culinary delight. Your great, great, great great, great, grand daddy Patrick McJameson of County Guinness did not eat corned beef in Ireland.
Thankfully we do not have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day approaches to purchase a corned beef. Most grocery stores will carry a corned beef brisket throughout most of the year. It may be frozen, but that just means you have to plan to thaw it prior to cooking. Based upon the sizes of the corned briskets in the store this morning, the average weight of the pickled beef is between 2.5 pounds and 3.5 pounds. Being the glutton that I am, I went for the 3.5 pound package. I prefer to cook my corned beef and cabbage in a crock pot / slow cooker. A large crock pot is the perfect size, but you could get away with using the small slow cooker if the brisket is on the smaller side.
Ingredients (for a large crock pot):
- 1 x 2.5 Lbs – 3.5 Lbs Corned Beef
- Spice Packet (Enclosed with the Corned Beef)
- 12 x Medium Sized Carrots (cleaned)
- 12 x Small Whole Potatoes
- 1 x Medium Sized Cabbage (halve and then cut into thirds or quarters (6 – 8 wedges)
- Eight hours before you are ready to eat, open the package containing the corned beef, drain the liquid and wash off the brisket.
- Place the corned beef in the crock pot.
- Sprinkle the Spice Packet over the meat.
- Add the prepared carrots and whole potatoes to the crock pot.
- Cover the corned beef with water, cover and turn the crock pot on low heat.
- Walk away.
- About an hour before you are prepared to eat, add the prepared cabbage to the top of the crock pot,.
- Cover and walk away.
- Remove the vegetables and cooked corned beef.
- Allow the meat to cool for a few minutes then slice and serve. Running through this particular cut of brisket is a thick layer of fat. Prior to slicing the meat, I separate the top and bottom half of the brisket and with the flat edge of the knife blade I scrape off the layer of fat. It is a very simple activity.
You can cook the corned beef and vegetables in a pot on the stove. Instructions on the package indicate that after bringing the pot with the meat to a boil, lower the temperature to a simmer and cook for three hours. In this scenario I would still add the cabbage somewhere between 60 to 45 minutes prior to eating.
Although there was not enough leftovers available, I am now inspired to try and make homemade corned beef hash. I may just have to go to the grocery store and purchase another packaged corned beef and save it until I have time to make hash.