Photo by Matthew Benson
Corned beef and cabbage is quintessential St. Patrick’s Day fare par excellence here in the U.S. In the best of all worlds, you’d start with home-cured corned beef. Barring that, use an uncooked corned beef, which is often available in supermarket meat departments, especially around St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Or, order it by mail. You can boil the corned beef and cabbage in a large pot on the stove, or braise it in a Dutch oven; the latter requires less supervision.
1 uncooked corned beef (3 to 4 pounds), or Classic Corned Beef, cured, but uncooked
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 savoy cabbage (about 2 pounds)
3 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut crosswise into 2-inch sections
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 pound ‘Yukon Gold’ or boiling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives (optional)
Spicy mustard, for serving
- Place the corned beef in a Dutch oven. (If braising, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.)
- Tie the bay leaves, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and allspice berries in cheesecloth. (Alternatively, wrap them in foil, and perforate the foil with a fork.) Add the bundle to the pot, and add water to cover by a depth of 2 inches.
- Bring the corned beef to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer the corned beef, uncovered, until nearly tender, about 2 hours. (Alternatively, cover the Dutch oven, place it in the oven, and braise the corned beef until nearly tender, about 2 hours.)
- Remove any blemished outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half through the core. Make V-shaped cuts to remove the core, and then cut each cabbage half into quarters to obtain 8 wedges.
- Add the vegetables to the pot, and continue boiling (or braising, covered) until tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours more. There should be enough liquid to cover the corned beef and vegetables by a depth of 1 inch; add water as needed. (If braising the corned beef, there may be too much liquid; if so, keep the Dutch oven uncovered after adding the vegetables.)
- To serve, remove and discard the spice bundle. Transfer the corned beef to a welled cutting board and slice it across the grain as thickly or thinly as you desire. Transfer the slices to a platter or plates, and use a slotted spoon to arrange the boiled vegetables beside the meat, leaving the cooking liquid in the pot.
- Strain 1-1/2 cups of the cooking liquid into a large heatproof bowl. Whisk in the butter until melted. Spoon this buttery sauce over the corned beef and vegetables. Dust with parsley, if using, and serve plenty of spicy mustard alongside.
For variations on corned beef, see:
Steven Raichlen was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2015. His books have won five James Beard Awards and been translated into 17 languages. This excerpt is from The Brisket Chronicles (Workman Publishing).