Saint Patrick’s Day is coming. Time for too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra-ing about Molly Malone, Danny Boy and my Wild Irish Rose. Time for dancing a jig while not spilling a drop. Time for decking out in shades of forest, emerald, mint and moss. For celebrating my freckles and green eyes while lamenting my lack of red-headedness. And the most glorious of all, time for every grocery store from sea-to-shining sea to suddenly stock up on corned beef. This Saint Patrick’s Day, be the lord of the manor with this absolutely perfect, not a hint of dry meat anywhere, corned beef dinner. Made in a crock pot, this scrumptious classic will fill your home with rich mouth-watering aromas, and keep you laughing, singing and toasting with your friends and family instead of slaving over a hot stove.
This dinner takes just minutes to put together and is absolutely the most delicious version of corned beef I’ve ever eaten. Start with a nice corned beef roast from your local grocery store, about 4 pounds. Then get out these few simple ingredients.
Chop up the carrots into chunks. Not too small. The potatoes stay whole, just give them a scrub. You can use red potatoes if you’d like, just make sure they aren’t the tiny ones, or they’ll be mush by the end of cooking. You want potatoes that are about 3 inches long. Peel and cut up an onion into big chunks.
Then get everyone into the crock pot. Throw in the onions, set the potatoes around the edge to make a nice resting place for your roast, then fill in the space with your carrots.
Now for the corned beef. Open up the packaging and set the spice packet aside. We’ll use it in a bit. Now stay tuned for an important message about placing your corned beef into the crock pot. Here’s the trick about blogging recipes. Doesn’t this roast look delightful perched atop its bed of potatoes? All marbled and delicious? Ready to do its roasting party? Sure it does. But it is all wrong. Yes, I said it. Wrong. Bad. No bueno. Your meat should not look like this.
It should look like this. Ugly huh? Yeah. I know. Just trust me here. You want to put your meat in the crock pot fat side up. Up! As your corned beef cooks, the fat will cook, and all the delicious fat flavor juice will flow down into your meat. Because, science. I know, fat is bad, we are all obese, heart disease, blah, blah, blah. I’m talking about flavor here people. Fat side down makes for a far better photo-op, but you’ll also end up with a dry, flavorless corned beef dinner. And that just isn’t a good trade-off.
Speaking of flavor, hello beer. Add 6 ounces of beer and then beef stock and water to your crock pot. You want it to be full about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. What to do with the leftover beer is completely up to you. You are making this on St. Patrick’s Day…right? *wink* Although you may be tempted, I would highly recommend you NOT use Guinness as your beer. Something not too robust here. I chose Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve. Any pale, lager will do quite nicely.
Finally, we’re going to open up that spice packet. The one you set aside when you opened your meat package. Look near the sink if you can’t find it. You probably rinsed it off before setting it down since it had bloody corned beef grossness all over the outside. Once you locate it, open it up and sprinkle all the spices on top of that beautifully ugly flavor factory that is the fat side of your corned beef. The spice packet contains a mixture of whole pickling spices such as allspice, coriander, mustard seed, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, dill seed. Once your spices are all sprinkled, set your crock pot to low and forget about it for the next 7 hours.
Some of you (very observant) folks are wondering why the cabbage has been left out in the cold while all the cool kids are partying in the crock pot. Come on, you know cabbage is not part of the “in” crowd. It looks funny, it smells. Poor cabbage. And now, I’ve given you this great recipe and am completely ignoring one of the key ingredients to a superior corned beef dinner. Don’t worry. Cabbage will have his day in the sun…er, crock pot. Alas, cabbage (like fair-skinned Irish folk) can’t stand the heat for long. So we are waiting until the last hour or so to introduce the cabbage to the party. Think of cabbage as your fashionably late friend. When your corned beef has been in the crockpot 7 hours, retrieve your lonely cabbage from the fridge where it’s been huddled in the cold all day while it’s root veggie friends were rocking out with that amazing hunk of meat. Give it some love. With a big knife. Cut it in half, then slice a triangle out of the bottom to remove the tough core.
Then slice into wedges. About 3 wedges per half.
Depending on the size of your cabbage head compared to the room left in your crock pot, you’ll be using between a 1/2 head and the whole thing. I always manage to squeeze every last leaf into my pot because darn it…I love cabbage. Squish as much on top of your meat as possible and then put the lid back on. Basically, the cabbage is going to steam into perfectly tender pieces while the meat and potatoes complete cooking below. About another hour.
This is an excellent time to pop some soda bread into the oven. Yeah buddy. Stay tuned for this recipe. It is perfection.
Now we’re going to get that meat out and slice it up. I take the meat and set it on a cutting board. I pull out all my veggies with some tongs and arrange them on a big platter while the meat rests. Then I slice up my meat and finish off my platter. You want to slice the corned beef against the grain. Look for the grain lines in the meat , this is the way the muscle fibers line up in your meat. For a fork tender piece of meat, you want to cut perpendicular to those lines, not along them. For more information, here’s a great step by step from TheKitchn. Now, back to my platter of deliciousness. The onions are caramelly goodness, the potatoes are buttery and soft, your cabbage is perfectly steamed and the carrots are tender and delicious. Topped off with succulent corned beef absolutely bursting with flavorful juices. Oh man. This stuff is incredible.
I mean, really gorgeous and delicious food.
Grab yourself a plate and enjoy Irish food heaven. Yuuuuum.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!
The Best Corned Beef Dinner Ever
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
7-10 red or white baby potatoes, about 3 inches each
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
32 oz beef broth
6 ounces beer
Enough water to bring liquid in crock pot to ½ full
1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker, pour in the beef broth & water, and place the brisket fat side up on top of the vegetables. Pour the beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices from the packet, cover, and set the cooker on low.
Cook the brisket for a total of about 8 hours. An hour before serving (when it’s been cooking about 7 hours), stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour.
Remove corned beef and allow to rest about 5 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving. Remove all vegetables to a platter and serve.