I recently experimented with making my own corned beef from scratch. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I used the fresh corned beef to make traditional corned beef and cabbage. It was easily the best corned beef and cabbage I’ve ever had. It was also the only corned beef and cabbage I’ve ever had.
Cooking corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is more of an Irish-American tradition than an Irish one. There’s not much to making the dish. You gently simmer some homemade or store-bought corned beef in enough water to cover the corned beef by an inch for around three hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 200 degrees. You know it’s done when you can start to break up the strands of meat by pressing on them with a wooden spoon.
Once it’s tender, you add some root vegetables, a small head of trimmed green cabbage, and a cup or two of low-sodium chicken stock, and a big pinch of freshly ground pepper to the pot. Don’t turn the heat up. You don’t want the beef to go much over 200°. 30–60 minutes later, everything should be finished cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
Remove the corned beef to a cutting board. Slice against the grain and serve along with the vegetables and a little of the cooking liquid.
This was a big hit with the wife. Pouring out the first pot of water reduced the saltiness of the brine. The cabbage came out mild, but flavorful. The potatoes were a great complement to the cabbage. The corned beef was absolutely the best I’ve ever had. Like I said in a previous post, there’s a sweet taste from the brisket fat and the texture is nothing like the mushy, deli-sliced corned beef that you’re probably used to.
I added baby yukon gold potatoes to this batch of corned beef because they cook as fast as the cabbage. You could use red potatoes or even russets. Bigger potatoes (and other root vegetables) might need to be cooked longer, so add them to the pot before the cabbage. I used the leftover potatoes and beef to make corned beef hash—one of my favorite dishes.