Corned beef is one of the most popular dishes in the slow cooker. Along with chili, some cooks only bring out their slow cooker for this dish. It is often said to be the first recipe to be made out of Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker cookbook. There are many versions of corned beef; this one used beer for part of the cooking liquid. Once it cooks, you will never know its there, as the beer melds into a savory spiced meaty broth.
It is so easy a dish to put together you will be having corned beef throughout the year whenever you see some nice fresh-looking packages in the butcher section to stash in the freezer. I personally like the flat pieces rather than the rump. I also use the enclosed pickling spice packet. You can certainly concoct your own but I find it so gratifying to just rinse and load the meat first thing in the morning, sprinkle with the whole spices, and toss in the roots. Pour over the liquid and cover. You are good to go have your day while the dish slowly cooks to tender perfection. I am a leftover person when it comes to brisket and corned beef, so I never worry if no one shows up to share. Makes great sandwiches alongside a salad, too.
Once on a road trip on St. Patrick’s Day, I stopped into a small artisan brewery in Hopland, California, just south of Ukiah. To the side of the old cowboy-style standup bar serving Red Tail Ale was a few tables to make a restaurant out of the connecting room. All the food was homemade in a kitchen the size of a large broom closet. I was the last customer for the day and there was just enough left to serve the daily special. The specialty that day was corned beef spiced by the chef herself with cabbage, steamed potatoes and carrots, homemade bread, and for dessert, Grasshopper Pie in a chocolate cookie crust. The meal was memorable and I has been recreating it ever since. Don’t forget the mustard.
Cooker: Medium or Large Round or Oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 9 to 11 hours for the meat AND High Heat: 20 to 30 minutes for the cabbage.
Serves 8 (or less if you want leftovers)
- 6 medium red potatoes, quartered
- 4 medium carrots, in 2-inch chunks cut on the diagonal
- 1 medium yellow onion, in 6 wedges
- 1 corned beef brisket (3 to 4 pounds) with seasoning packet, rinsed
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1 12-ounce can beer, strong or mild-flavored, as desired
- Water, to cover
- 1 medium head white cabbage, cut into 8 wedges, each secured tied with kitchen twine
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard and /or grainy Dijon mustard, for serving
Place potatoes, carrots and onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Lay the corned beef on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with seasonings from packet, spices, and sprinkle with brown sugar. If the meat is too big to lay flat in your cooker, cut it in half and stack the pieces one atop the other. Add the beer and enough water to just cover the brisket. Cover and cook on LOW 9 to 11 hours.
Remove the corned beef and place on a serving casserole. Place the vegetables around the beef; cover with foil to keep warm. Place the cabbage into pot with the cooking liquid and turn heat to HIGH. Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until cabbage is crisp-tender.
Serve beef, sliced across the grain, with the mustard, vegetables, cabbage, and juices from pot on the side.
If you are feeling especially motivated, make an Irish Soda Bread to serve with butter. The leftovers are great toasted the next morning.
Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman. (c) 2005/2016, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.