Is there anybody out there who doesn’t love corned beef? Robby is fractionally Irish, but like many people, he gets more Irish when Irish food is involved. You’ve seen it (maybe you’ve done it)–someone mentions Guinness or Irish stew and suddenly everyone has VERY STRONG OPINIONS about leprechauns and green beer. You know who you are.
I have been waiting to do this recipe for literally a year. I started this blog last March, right after I made St. Patrick’s Day corned beef. I’ve since held off putting the recipe up until it was seasonal again.
That, and I couldn’t find any corned beef. I started checking Publix (a really great mostly-Florida grocery chain) in February, but it hasn’t been put out yet. In the meantime I resorted to going to the giant Wal-Mart near us, which is always an experience, and where I learned that there are two cuts of corned beef. Point cut, which I used here, is fattier. It’s cheaper for that reason, and arguably more flavorful. Flat cut is a bit leaner and the one to go with if you want cleaner slices. I think I would use flat cut next time because it less egregiously fatty, but both cuts have essentially the same taste.
My mother in law has a fabulous corned beef recipe that involves a multi-hour slow simmer, the kind that scents the whole house and pulls unwitting people into the kitchen by their noses. I made it last year, but I wanted to turn this into a slow cooker recipe for two reasons. One is that I have trouble maintaining a pot at a simmer for multiple hours–inevitably I turn the simmer off at least once and boil it at least twice. The other is that I love coming home to find that a delicious dinner has cooked itself entirely in my absence. Heck yeah.
Slow Cooker Corned Beef with Vegetables
Like most slow cooker meals, pretty much all the work is in the prep. Potatoes and vegetables are cut to more or less one size. Beer is poured over the beef with the pickling spice. The slow cooker is turned on and you–you are free to go to work, bake some Irish soda bread, paint yourself green… The only thing you need to do is add the cabbage for the last hour of cooking.
When it’s done, slice (as best as you can when the beef is falling-apart tender) and serve with veggies and bread, grainy mustard and horseradish. Leftovers can make corned beef hash, Reuben sandwiches, grilled cheese…if you have any leftovers. I dare you.
1 (3-4 pound) corned beef brisket, plus pickling spice packet
Optional: 1 rutabaga, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pound red potatoes, quartered
3 onions, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
12 ounces beer
4-8 cups water
1/2 head of cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
Into the slow cooker, layer in rutabaga, carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery.
Place corned beef on top, fat side up, and sprinkle with spice packet.
Add beer and enough water to cover beef, plus garlic and bay leaves.
Cook on low for 7 hours. Add cabbage; cook for 1 more hour.
Slice corned beef against the grain. Serve with vegetables, cooking liquid, grainy mustard, and Irish soda bread if you're lucky enough to have it.