In my journey towards semi-vegetarianism, beef has been easy meat to cut back on. Hamburgers and steaks were never a big part of my diet to begin with, and I've always liked vegetarian pasta recipes better than their beefy counterparts. However, even though I only eat it a couple times a year, corned beef is the beef dish I could never give up. I love the salty taste and how the meat falls apart into tender strings. Eating corned beef and cabbage is my favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, although you would hard-pressed to find corned beef on a modern Irish menu (and traditionally it was eaten in County Cork, rather than throughout the country). However, since I’m only Irish for the day anyway, we’re not going for authenticity here.
My favorite way to prepare corned beef is in a slow cooker: it's easy and the meat comes out perfectly tender. This recipe, adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two by Beth Hensperger, serves two people with leftovers for lunch (or Reuben sandwiches). Since the cabbage is cooked for only 30 minutes at the end, it ends up tender-crisp instead of flavorless and soggy. Irish Soda Bread makes a delicious accompaniment to this dish.
Adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two by Beth Hensperger
- 1 cup baby carrots, or regular carrots cut into 2 inch long pieces
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 to 2 pound corned beef brisket, with seasoning packet
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1/2 of a head of cabbage, cut into wedges
For easier clean up, spray slow cooker liner with non-stick canola oil cooking spray. Place carrots and onions in slow cooker. Trim fat from the corned beef and discard.
Rinse the corned beef and then lay it in the slow cooker over the vegetables. Drizzle the corned beef with broth and sprinkle on the contents of the seasoning packet. Add enough water just to cover the corned beef, and cook on low for 10-12 hours.
Remove corned beef and vegetables from the cooker with a slotted spoon, place in a covered casserole dish, and keep warm (I put the casserole in my oven and set it to 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Add cabbage to the juices in the cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes, or until cabbage is crisp-tender. Remove cabbage from cooker and serve with corned beef and vegetables.
Enjoy your Irish-American St. Patrick's Day dinner!