An Easy and Delicious Winter Recipe
Every St. Patrick's Day for decades I have pulled out the largest pot I own, and cooked up my old-fashioned Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe. It's delicious, the leftovers are great for sandwiches, and it is very easy to make. In fact, you don't need to limit yourself to only enjoying corned beef on St. Patrick's Day. This is also a nice meal to enjoy on a cold winter evening. Although it needs to simmer nearly all day, it is a meal that you can start in the morning, and finish up during the hour and a half, or so before you plan to eat. I have left my corned beef simmering on the stove while I have gone to the beach, or ran errands. At the end of a busy day, it is wonderful to enter the house and know that dinner is almost ready! This is also the perfect meal to prepare when you have guests staying with you. You can run around with them during the day, and everyone comes home to a meal that needs very little extra attention.
One interesting fact about corned beef is that it has nothing to do with corn! It is actually salted beef. Originally, the large granules of salt that were used to cure the meat were about the size of kernels of corn … so people began to call it corned beef.
Equipment for Preparing Corned Beef and Cabbage
The only piece of equipment you will need is a large pot that will hold both the meat and vegetables. If you have a large crock pot, this will do the job nicely, as well.
If you don't have a large slow cooker, or crock pot, you may want to order one online. They are such a convenient way to prepare meals for a large family or group of friends.
Ingredients for Preparing Corned Beef and Cabbage
3-4 lb piece of corned beef
1 head of red or green cabbage (or a mixture of both)
1 onion (optional)
Corned beef is prepared in a pot on the stove top, or in a crock pot, if preferred. Put the meat and enough water to cover it into the pot. You will add the vegetables much later.
Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer the corned beef for at least 4 hours. It is actually probably wise to allow 5-6 hours for the meal to cook. Continue to add water, as necessary, to keep the meat covered. It is almost impossible to overcook the meat, but it is very easy to undercook it. The meat has not finished cooking until it can be easily pierced with a fork. If you remove it from the heat too soon, the meat will be very chewy and difficult to eat.
If you prepare your meal in a crock pot, be sure to read the instructions that came with your slow cooker. You may need to allow as much as 8 hours before it will be done, depending on the manufacturer. However, the advantage of a crock pot is that you may feel more comfortable leaving the house while the meat is cooking.
After your meat has cooked at least two or three hours, add the cut up pieces of potato, carrot and onion, in the quantities desired. By the time the meat is done, the vegetables should also be easily pierced with a fork.
Add wedges of cabbage during the last 15 minutes of cooking. The cabbage will become tender very quickly, and does not need to be in the pot very long.
Remove your meat from the pot and place it on a platter. Let it stand about 15 minutes before slicing it.
Meanwhile, remove the vegetables from the pot and place them in a large serving bowl.
Serve either buffet style, or at the table. This recipe should serve six to eight people. Any meat that is left over can be chilled and made into sandwiches the next day.
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