So….It was my turn to cook on Tuesday and as an early St. Patrick’s Day treat, I made Corned Beef & Cabbage. When we think Corned Beef & Cabbage we think Irish…right? Well, not exactly. When times were tough in Ireland, beef was considered a delicacy and cows were used mostly as a dairy source. The Irish traditionally enjoyed bacon joint with their cabbage and potatoes and it wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that Irish-Americans, thanks to their new Jewish pals, began to substitute the more readily available corned beef, which is similar in texture to bacon joint.
The Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe I used instructed me to “buy a corned beef brisket with the flavor pack included.” What? I had no idea what this meant but figured the smart people at allrecipes.com knew what they were talking about. So I sashayed into Genuardis thinking I would have to spend the better part of an hour looking for a piece of meat sporting a Ramen Noodlesque flavor packet. To my delight, I found an entire case of this salt-brine cured beef, each complete with a spice packet (basically pickling spices...crushed bay leaves, coriander seed, peppercorns, allspice, mustard seed, cloves).
Beef Brisket is prepared like any other tougher cut of meat, by braising – cooked for a long time in liquid – and the result is meat that is melt-in-your-mouth tender. The recipe I used called for cooking the brisket for at least 8 hours in a slow cooker and this produced a most scrumptious result!
Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound baby carrots
3 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (3 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet, cut in half
1 small head cabbage, cut into wedges
Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet; pour over vegetables. Top with brisket and cabbage. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Foodie brought some Irish beer and we had an arugula salad served in the lovely traveling salad bowl. For dessert, we had some of my home-made Irish potatoes. A grand evening!
Trivia: Corned Beef & Cabbage was served at what President’s Inaugural Dinner?
Thank you to kitchenproject.com and about.com for the history of CB&C and Google images for the photo of the menu.