This is my time of year! Corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and green beer.
For the past several years, I’ve used my mother’s recipe for making Corned beef which basically involves placing a beef brisket, seasoning packet, a head of cabbage, and new potatoes in a pot, covering it with water, and serving dinner several hours later. For years this was our St. Patrick’s Day dinner and I loved it.
This year, I was lucky enough to receive an e-mail from Chef Scott Savokinas with his slow cooker recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage. This recipe involves using new ingredients (for me) such as whole-grain mustard and beer. I was immediately interested. Scott has given me permission to use his recipe on our site, and from the time I read the ingredients, I couldn’t wait to try it.
Corned Beef and Cabbage (courtesy of Scott Savokinas)
6 red potatoes, quartered
5 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed
3 stalks celery, cut in half
1 medium head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
1 4- to 5-pound corned beef brisket (including spice packet)
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
12-ounce bottle dark beer
1. With a basting brush, coat both sides of the brisket with the mustard.
2. Place brisket in the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Open seasoning packet and sprinkle spices over brisket.
3. Place potatoes, carrots and celery on top of brisket.
4. Add beer and enough water to barely cover the vegetables.
5. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
6. Remove brisket and vegetables. Place cabbage into slow cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes, or until cabbage is cooked to your liking.
Notes from my experience:
- This was a seriously easy recipe. Very little prep work was involved and I always like that. Dinner was “made” by 9:30 a.m.
- Typically I cook this meal on the stove top. What I liked was that by using my Crock-Pot, the smell was not as overwhelming as usual.
- As far as cooking time goes, I had to play with that a little bit. I’m a shredder of corned beef rather than a slice-against-the-grain-type. The 8 hours on low (for a 4 1/2lb. brisket) wasn’t going to be enough for super tender shredding. If you are a shredder, I’d suggest 6 hours on high. If you are a slicer, I’d keep with the 8-9 hours on low.
- I loved adding the cabbage at the end of cooking. It gave the cabbage so much more texture rather than the soggy mess it usually turns out to be.
- Scott had given me two pieces of advice before making this which are worth sharing: The first was that the mustard can be too strong for some people, so I cut back and only used about a teaspoon basted on each side. I needed my kids to eat this meal and they have “spice” issues. The second piece of advice was regarding which kind of beer to use. (Admittedly, I was a little obsessive here). He said to stay away from a stout, porter or ale. I used Heineken because that was what was in my refrigerator. It worked well, although I wouldn’t have thought of this as a dark beer.
Chef Scott Savokinas received his training in the kitchen of the restaurant his father owned for 40 years. More recently, Savokinas spent seven years as a regional chef for Williams-Sonoma. Currently living in northern New Jersey, his focus is on in-home interactive dinner parties where guests learn to make a meal and enjoy the fruits of their labor. He believes that everyone can cook, they just need to learn the basics. Beyond adult cooking parties, Savokinas gives kids cooking classes which he says “can be hugely successful but there’s a magic formula.” From personal experience, Savokinas is also well-versed in cooking for those with food allergies, something I could have used help with for my own kids.