Classic Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen, (C) 1995 (reprinted 2005) and Epicurious.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb corned brisket of beef
  • 3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 6 to 8 small onions
  • 1 teaspoon dry English mustard
  • large sprig fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together
  • 1 cabbage
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

Put the brisket into a saucepan with the carrots, onions, mustard and the herbs. Cover with cold water, and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in quarters and add to the pot. Cook for a further 1 to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are soft and tender.

Serve the corned beef in slices, surrounded by the vegetables and cooking liquid. Serve with lots of small boiled red or yellow potatoes and good mustard.

A Few Notes:

To keep your carrots, onions, and cabbage from turning to mush, be sure to use large pieces. Use carrots that are two inches in diameter and cuts them into chunks three or four inches long. Cut large onions into quarters or use whole small onions, and quarter a whole cabbage and add it after the meat and other veggies have stewed for a while. If you’d like, you can also add white turnips, rutabaga, or celeriac. To stop the meat from getting tough, keep it covered with water at all times (add more hot water if it cooks down), and once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer. “Don’t have it at a mad rolling boil all the time,” says Allen. “Once it comes to the boil, it can just simmer along gently then. That will keep it nice and tender and won’t toughen the meat.”

Allen offers this excellent tip for telling when the meat is cooked: “Before it’s cooked, if you put a skewer or carving fork in the meat, you will be able to lift the piece of meat up on the carving fork, but when it’s cooked, the skewer will come straight out of it without lifting it up.”

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