There's always room for one more, and today, the food world can make room for mine. Why? When asked, I always answer. While I've shared my recipes for ~ Braised & Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef ~, and, ~ My Brown-Sugar Crusted Crockpot Corned Beef ~, the two are essentially the same recipe, cooked via two different methods, and, they are both geared toward making corned beef sandwiches -- a year round favorite of my husband and I. Corned beef and cabbage, served as a knife and fork dinner or a main-course soup, isn't something either of us grew up eating, so, I only tend to make it when the occasion calls for it. That is today:
In honesty, with all of the recipes for traditional corned beef and cabbage "out there", I find it flattering that Marsha, a regular Kitchen Encounters reader wants my recipe "out there too" because she finds my contributions to be "easy-to-follow and reliable". A foodie blogger couldn't ask for higher praise. The request couldn't have come at a better time either: Anyone and everyone who makes corned beef for St. Patrick's Day knows that a week or two after the holiday they go on sale for almost half the price. So, yesterday, when I saw them BOGO'd (buy one get one free), I bought four -- one to cook tonight and three to freeze for making sandwiches later.
A bit about Corned Beef and Cabbage/New England Boiled Dinner: While traditional fare for St. Patrick's Day USA, corned beef and cabbage is not the traditional holiday meal in Ireland. Corned pork and cabbage is what they serve there. When the Irish immigrants started coming to America in the early 1900's, beef in Ireland was very scarce and very expensive -- pork was cheap and available. Once in America, they readily found beef and corned beef in their lower Manhattan ghettos, where the butchers were kosher Jews and pork was strictly prohibited. The concept of the dish is to simmer the corned meat (which has been rubbed with salt and cured in a spice-infused brine) to "desalinate" it (remove the salt). Vegetables like cabbage, carrots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, etc., not only flavor the broth, they love to absorb the salt.
1 4-4 1/2 pound flat- or point-cut corned beef brisket, thoroughly rinsed under cold water
1 1/2 pounds 1" thick carrots, peeled and cut into 3 1/2" -4" lengths about the same size as the fingerling potatoes
12 ounces yellow or sweet onion, cut into 3/4"-1" chunks
2 small-medium, young, firm and tender heads of green cabbage, about 1-1 1/2 pounds each, each sliced into six wedges (Tip from Mel: Smaller wedges cut from small heads fit better into the crockpot than large wedges taken from large heads.)
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 12-ounce bottles beer (Note: I do not recommend Guinness or any other heavily-flavored or dark beer. A pale lager or light beer will add plenty of flavor without overpowering the broth.)
2 14 1/2-ounce cans beef broth
all of the pickling spices from the seasoning packet that came with the corned beef, along with:
6 whole allspice
4 medium bay leaves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
~ Step 1. Toss the onions and carrots together in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the corned beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables. Add the beer and the beef broth. Add the spices to the liquid (don't scatter them on top of the meat).
Even though the cabbage is a key component to the flavor of this recipe, it, and the potatoes, will both turn to mush if they are cooked for the entire, lengthy and slow six hour cooking process. Add both of them during the last two hours.
~ Step 2. Cover the crockpot and cook on high power for four hours.
~Step 3. At the end of four hours, cut each cabbage into six wedges. Remove the lid from the crockpot. Add the potatoes to the liquid and arrange the cabbage wedges, overlapping them slightly without crowding them, evenly over the top of all. Note: How many wedges of cabbage you can fit in the crockpot will depend upon how large your cabbages were. I fit 9 wedges in the crockpot today, which is 1 1/2 heads (which came from 2, 1 1/2-pound cabbages).
~ Step 4. Put the lid back on and reprogram the crockpot to cook on high for two additional hours. If you have followed my instructions, every component, including the fork-tender cabbage wedges will be perfectly cooked. Whether you plan to serve it as a family-style knife and fork dinner, or as a rustic main-dish soup, do not allow it to sit in the crockpot. Deconstruct it immediately, according to the following directions:
~Step 5. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to an 8" x 8" x 2" casserole. Using a large spatula, transfer corned beef to a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole. Using the slotted spoon, transfer all of the carrots, potatoes and onions to a second 8" x 8" x 2" casserole. Pour broth through a strainer into an 8-cup measuring container. Cover each with plastic to keep moist.
Slice meat, arrange on platter, portion, & eat w/knives & forks...
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; 6 1/2-quart crockpot; large slotted spoon; large slotted spatula; mesh strainer; soup ladle; plastic wrap
Cook's Note: A favorite cabbage side-dish recipe of mine, which fingerling potatoes can be added to, is: ~ My Grandmother's Butter-Braised Cabbage & Carrots ~ can be found by clicking into Categories 4, 12, 19 or 20. My grandmother like to serve it with baked ham.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)