For many, corned beef and cabbage is a once-a-year meal, usually eaten on St. Patrick’s Day.
The hearty dish with potatoes is as much a part of the American celebration on March 17 as wearing green and drinking Guinness.
The secret is to simmer the meat slowly, whether on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. We have several recipes below.
In the meantime, it’s helpful to know the recipe has its roots in Ireland but has been slightly altered. The version popular in the United States is the creation of Irish immigrants who, in search of “bacon joints” to simmer with cabbage, turned to cured beef.
The corned beef was accessible and plentiful in New York’s Jewish delis and markets where many of the immigrants first lived.
As for corning, it has nothing to do with corn and is a form of curing. The process originated in Anglo-Saxton times when meat was dry-cured in coarse “corns” of salt, some the size of corn kernels, that were rubbed on the meat to prevent it from spoiling.
Here are some recipes and cooking methods:
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Makes 8 servings.
1 (3-pound) corned beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
10 baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
12 small new potatoes or 5 baking potatoes peeled and halved
1 head green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges and core remove
The pot you use needs to be big enough to hold meat, vegetables and simmering water without crowding and overflowing. This is especially important if you’re adding more vegetables. You can add more cabbage, potatoes or baby carrots.
Mustard and Horseradish Sauce makes a tangy accompaniment. To prepare it, combine 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish and 2 tablespoons sour cream.
Place beef in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough cold water to cover the meat by 2 inches. Bring just to boil on high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim and discard froth that rises to the top. Cover and simmer for 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Add vegetables and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. If you want the cabbage cooked tender-crisp, cook the potatoes for 10 minutes, then add the cabbage for about 15 minutes of cooking.
Transfer beef to a cutting board and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Slice across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.
To serve, arrange beef slices on serving platter. Remove vegetables from pot with slotted spoon and surround beef on platter. If desired, serve with Mustard and Horseradish Sauce on the side.
Here are other methods from From United States Department of Agriculture. Whichever method you choose, be sure the beef reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees to ensure it is safely cooked.
Stove top: Place brisket fat-side up in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, allowing about one hour per pound. Vegetables may be added during the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking. Cook to desired tenderness.
Oven: Set the oven for 350 degrees or no lower than 325 degrees. Place brisket fat-side up. Barely cover the meat with water –about one inch — and keep the container covered throughout the cooking time. Allow about one hour per pound.
Slow cooker: If using root vegetables, put them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cut brisket into pieces of like size to ensure thorough cooking. Place brisket on top of vegetables (if using) or in bottom of cooker. Add about 11/2 cups of water or enough to cover meat. Cover and cook on high setting for one hour. Then cook for 10 to 12 hours on the low setting or 5 to 6 hours on high.Cabbage wedges may be added on top of the brisket during the last three hours.
Corned Beef and Cabbage, Instant Pot
- 2 pounds corned beef 1.5 inches in thickness
- 4 cups Water cold
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns whol
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice whole
- 3 cloves whole
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger ground, optional
- 6 carrots peeled, cut to 2.5 inches length
- 4 red potatoes quartered
- 1 cabbage cut into 8 wedges
Rinse corned beef under cold tap water. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towel. Add rinsed corned beef, quartered onion, crushed garlic cloves, pickling spices seasoning, and 4 cups of cold water into the Instant Pot.
Close lid and pressure cook on Manual at High Pressure for 70 minutes followed by Natural Release for about 15 minutes. If the floating valve doesn’t drop after 15 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning the venting knob from sealing position to venting position. Open lid carefully.
While the pressure cooker is natural releasing, prepare the vegetables as described.
Set aside cooked corned beef and 3 cups of the hot liquid in a large serving bowl. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid left in the pressure cooker. Add quartered red potatoes, carrots, and cabbage wedges in the pressure cooker.
Close lid and pressure cook on Manual at High Pressure for 2 – 3 minutes, followed by a Quick Release. Open the lid carefully.
On a chopping board, cut Corned Beef against the grain into 1/8 inch slices. Serve with cabbage wedges, red potatoes and carrots.