Corned Beef and Cabbage
March: The Month of Shamrocks and Corned Beef
Usually, March is that time of year where corned beef and cabbage becomes popular for a dinner idea, right along with green beer, or alcoholic Irish cream drinks, whiskey, and as well as soda bread.
And on the day of St. Patrick's Day, as well as the weekends around that time, it becomes breakfast, lunch, AND dinner for some people. With many ideas out there on how to cook it, and what to add or not add, this recipe is just one of the many. And it is definitely perfect if you have a busy schedule and feel as if you don't have time. You can just set it, and almost forget it! (Actually forgetting it is really a bad idea... Don't try it... It can be dangerous. Really. Don't actually forget it... All food that is being cooked should be monitored.)
Believe it or not, this can even be made at any time throughout the year, when corned beef and cabbage seems to be in a sort of "out of season" moment, and only found without the special seasonings packet that comes with it.
With the combination of these ingredients, you will have a mouth watering smell to your home, and a very delicious meal that may have people coming back for more! Even better, this can be reheated and still taste just as delicious. The beef even makes an amazing snack, too! (Hey, in my home we all end up snacking bits and pieces out of it. It's THAT good.)
1.) Beef wasn't originally used for "corned beef and cabbage". The origin actually is Irish-American, and not wholly Irish at all. The original dish was actually sometimes pork/bacon, or sometimes lamb, and cabbage! Beef was considered a luxury and not everyone could afford it.
2.) "Corned" has nothing to do with corn. It actually has to do with "corns of salt" or, chunks of (the edible) rock salt.
3.) The idea of beef was replaced in America, because it was a dish shared with their Jewish friends, who couldn't eat pork.
4.) It's believed that the recipe from the Irish might actually be a recipe from Israel. Whomever it came from is fully unsure, but we all know it's delicious!
5.) There are people, and places, that make corned beef jerky. A twist on beef jerky!
6.) Some people secretly add beer, like Guiness, to their corned beef and cabbage water, and let it cook the alcohol out.
- 1 package Corned Beef, (Should come with seasoning packet. If not, see optional box below.)
- 1 Cabbage, (Medium size is usually best.)
- 5 Potatoes, (medium, to larger size)
- 1 Onion, (medium, golden preferred.)
- 2 cups Baby Carrots, (Uncooked. Baby carrots usually work best.)
Red pepper flakes
Cardamom pods (whole)
Bay leaves (whole)
Preparing Corned Beef From Scratch (Optional)
If you have a plastic bag, like a ziploc bag, place the meat inside, or place it inside of a container with a sealing lid. I recommend that you use something that won't leak all over. Add the spices listed above, and about a half of a cup of water. Let it sit in your fridge for an hour, and then place it in your freezer to cure for up to 4-6 days. After that amount of time, it should be ready to cook.
(There really is no need to let it sit on low, in a pot to cook, several days before freezing it, as some may suggest.)
If you feel that with the spice packet, that there is not enough for flavor, you can add a pinch of each from what is listed above, in to your pot.
How Do I Cook Corned Beef (And Cabbage)?
- You will need to start by having a large cooking pot on the stove. Usually a stock pot, or something 3 to 4 times the size of your corned beef, works best. This way, when you stir you are not spilling over and making a mess. (Although, not all hope is lost! You always can make do with a smaller pot!)
- Start by taking one medium sized golden onion (or if you prefer a larger one, then go for it!) and peel away the crunchy golden peel. Remove any green stem, and a little bit of the end where the roots would grow. Trim it up, how you feel it would be best, and then put that into the pot, without cutting it up any further.
- Wash and then peel your potatoes. (If need be, wash them again after peeling, if there are any stubborn peels still stuck, or if there are any little specks of dirt.) Set them aside for a little while later. And, if you really like potatoes, or even if you don't, you can always adjust by adding more or less. Just don't forget them! They taste amazing when the food is done, and they will absorb any excess salt.
- Peel several layers off your cabbage and discard them. Cut the little bit of what stem is left, off. Wash off the cabbage and dry it. Proceed to cut it into four parts. This may be difficult, and like cutting turnip. Take a lot of caution, and if you're using a larger knife, take A LOT more caution. (Please don't cut yourself, or get your fingers in the way. Fingers and thumbs are quite useful, believe it or not.). Either way, be careful. Please.
- Wash off the baby carrots an add them into the pot. Take 2 parts out of 4 of the green cabbage, and add them into the pot as well.
- Remove the corned beef from the package and rinse it off quickly, but not too much. Sometimes, the seasoning packets leak a little flavor in to the "juices", giving the beef a little flavor beforehand.
- Add the seasonings from the seasonings packet and add it into the pot. If you wish, add a little water into the packet and dump it into the pot, until all the seasonings have washed out of the packet. (This isn't always necessary and can be a little messy.)
- Add the other two halves of cabbage in to the pot, and fill the pot with just enough water, so that the corned beef and cabbage is just about submerged. Cook for 5 hours on a medium-low setting. (All the food will cook down, so you don't want too much water, You may add water throughout the cooking process if need be, but too much can make it stew-like.) IMPORTANT: Do NOT cook your corned beef and cabbage on a high setting. This will cause your corned beef to become a rubber-like consistency that will be tough to eat. It is okay if your cabbage turns brown-ish. That means it is cooked. Unless you like it raw and green. That is up to you. It can be added at any time, depending on your choice of preference, how cooked you like it.
- Remember those potatoes that were set aside? Time to add them in! About 3 1/2 hours through, proceed to cut the potatoes into large chunks. Just don't add them in to the pot in whole form, unless you have a very large pot, as it will cause it to be a bit difficult when stirring. Halved potatoes, or quartered, will usually fill in the gaps, so to say, and not overfill your pot too much. And, if you cut them too small, they tend to turn into a sort of mashed potato that blends in, leaving not many potatoes to eat when finished. If there are small pieces, they can help with causing the water to thicken so you are not left with a pot of mushy water. This also is a good time to add extra carrots. Especially if there are those who like carrots more firm.
- Here is the hard part... It smells amazing. It's hard to resist for 6 hours, and will need stirring every so often. But not too much, or it will turn to mush. But once that 6 hour mark has passed, remove the corned beef, with caution, from the pot and on to a plate or cutting board, to cool. Do not refrigerate or put in the freezer to cool down. Continue to let the vegetables contents in the pot to cool down a little, as well.
- Once cooled down to room temperature, cut the corned beef in to thick slices, against the grain. If it hasn't cooled down enough, this will not work. It will just shred apart. Add the slices in to the pot to blend with the juices, and vegetables. (To note: The vegetables in the pot will retain heat. There is really no need to turn your stove back on, to heat up the contents.)
- Unless you are hungry, sometimes a ten minute wait can be helpful to return the beef to a warmer temperature. How you choose to eat this dish is up to you! You can do this with just the beef on a plate, and veggies on the side. Or you can do this on rye bread (not toasted) with mustard. Seeded rye, as well as marble, are always a good choice. Another idea is a Reuben sandwich. Just toast the rye bread, add warm sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. Either way, it's completely up to you! Enjoy!
How did yours turn out?
© 2015 Kryssy Bruckheimer