This page may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post raves about Corned Beef and Cabbage!
What Is Corned Beef?
The Irish classic dish Corned Beef and Cabbage is the only way to go when March 17 rolls around!
Corned beef is salt cured beef brisket. It is typically served with cabbage, or it is sliced and used in sandwiches. The Reuben sandwich is made with corned beef and it is one of my favorite sandwiches.
Why Do We Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick's Day?
I discovered that the reason we eat these foods on St. Patrick's Day has to do with Ireland's history of exporting salted meats. Ireland produced and exported a LOT of corned beef. However beef was too expensive for much of the population. Therefore most people ate salt pork, which was a cheaper alternative.
Irish immigrants found that pork was actually more expensive than corned beef when they arrived in the US. So what was a luxury food back in Ireland, now was affordable to the Irish immigrants.
They paired corned beef with cabbage. Cabbage was traditionally served with salted pork back in Ireland. Cabbage is also inexpensive. So enjoy this delicious pair for dinner when celebrating St. Patrick's Day!
You will want to read this amazing article called "The History of Corned Beef: From Irish Export to St. Patrick's Favorite" by Gerard Paul of ManyEats.com. This article is a deep dive into the history of corned beef and is absolutely fascinating!
How To Make Corned Beef On Your Stove Top
There are several ways to prepare corned beef. The recipe in this post addresses cooking it on your stovetop.
In this method, you simply place the uncooked corned beef in a deep stock pot. Add the spices from the spice packet (many packs of corned beef include a spice packet), along with a bay leaf and a beef stock cube or some beef bouillon.
If your corned beef does not come with a spice packet, then you can use pickling spices instead. You can get this at your local grocery store or here on Amazon.
Bring to the boil, and then simmer for approximately one hour per pound of corned beef, or until it is fork tender.
Please note that brisket requires cooking on a low heat for a good amount of time to get it to turn out nice and tender. Brisket on a high heat will turn out tough and chewy and no one desires that! 😅
Cooking The Cabbage!
It's super easy to cook the cabbage for your Corned Beef and Cabbage Dish! Add cut up pieces of green cabbage directly to your stock pot for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking the brisket. This way, the cabbage soaks up the wonderful flavors of the broth!
Other Ways To Prepare Corned Beef
In addition to cooking this Irish classic on your stove you can also:
- Prepare it in a slow cooker - this is super easy! Follow directions on your packet but typically you'll cook it covered with water for around 8-10 hours on a low setting
- Bake it in your oven - Follow directions on your packet but usually you would bake it covered in foil on a rack with some water at the bottom of the pan. Cook at 325F and allow at least 1 hr per pound or until fork tender
Frequently Asked Questions
Corned has to do with the preservation of the beef. "Corns" were large pellets of salt which covered the beef to draw out moisture which helps prevent the growth of bacteria.
The corned beef is cured with nitrates or nitrites, which give the meat a pink/red color.
The time will vary according to the size of your corned beef. Please allow around 1 hr per pound to ensure your meat is nice and tender.
From ehow.com, spices in the spice packets typically include: "peppercorns, bay leaves, mustard seeds, dill seeds and at least a few other whole spices, all with warm and robust flavors"
The best way to ensure a tender Corned Beef is to cook it low and slow. Allow enough time (1 hr/pound) and keep it on a low simmer.
1,000 Foods to Eat Project
Corned beef and cabbage is also one of the 1,000 Foods to Eat listed in the book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton. The book states that billions of pounds of corned beef are eaten every March 17. Corned beef is EVERYWHERE at the grocery stores around St. Patrick's Day!
You can either prepare the corned beef yourself as mentioned above, or feast on some pre cooked corned beef, as you can see in the video below.
This Irish classic is #6 on my quest to prepare and eat each of the foods listed in the book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die.
Visit my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page for a list of the foods tried so far!
What To Serve With Corned Beef and Cabbage
Serve these delicious foods with what else? Colcannon or Champ of course! Colcannon and Champ are two Irish mashed potato dishes which are HEAVENLY! And, both are also listed in the 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die book as MUST TRY foods!
Happy St. Patrick's Day if you are reading this on March 17!
In conclusion, I invite you to come along with me on a fun food journey! Please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It's an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here. 😃
Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 1.5 lb corned beef there should be a spice packet included
- 1 ts beef bouillon powder can sub 1 beef stock cube
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼-1/2 green cabbage cored and cut into large chunks
- Rinse and then pat dry the meat. Sprinkle the contents of the spice packet that came with your corned beef onto the fat side of your corned beef.
- Add the seasoned corned beef (fat side up) into a large stock pot and cover with water. Add beef bouillon (or a beef stock cube) and bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for approximately 1 hr 30 min. (Adjust the cook time for 1 hr/pound for the size of your corned beef). If the meat is not fork tender, cook it a little longer until it is fork tender.
- Core your cabbage, and cut ¼-1/2 of your cabbage into large chunks.
- Add the cabbage to the stock pot for the last 15-20 minutes or so, and cook until the cabbage is tender.
- Remove the corned beef, and slice. Drain the cabbage and serve with the corned beef.