Corned beef and cabbage, photo by Donna

This was dinner last night, moments before it was consumed.  Donna said, “This is the best cabbage I’ve ever had,” and, back at the stove, looking for thirds on the corned beef, “This is all you made?” All in all, a success.  I’ve used this particular preparation several times and it can’t be beat, a really smart strategy for cooking and serving and making use of all the flavors and juices and soft textures.

First cook your corned beef (simmered for a few hours, braised, wrapped in foil with sliced onions for 4 hours at 250—how I did it—or even cooked sous vide). Only way not to cook this is slow roasting (a perfectly fine strategy but won’t give you the liquid you need to finish the cabbage here).

To complete the meal.  Saute 4 or 5 ounces of bacon lardons. Poach red potatoes in hot but not boiling water till tender, about a half hour.  Cut your cabbage into wedges, through the root so that the leaves stay attached. When the bacon is cooked and the fat is rendered, sear both sides of the cabbage wedges in bacon fat (never miss the chance to say “bacon fat,” it always invites), then add enough of the beef liquid to the pan to come halfway up the cabbages, cover and simmer till the cabbage is tender, 10 minutes or so.  Keep the beef covered or wrapped so it doesn’t dry out.  When the cabbage is tender,  stir  a tablespoon of Dijon mustard into the cooking liquid.  Add the beef to the pan, cover and keep on low so that it all stays steaming hot.  Drain the potatoes, slice them, toss them with butter and parsley and salt.

I sliced the beef right there in the pan, but you could remove it to a cutting board, slice and serve or slice and return it to the pan or to a platter.  Just make sure it’s in plenty of the hot cooking liquid.  Serve the cabbage, corned beef and potatoes, spooning plentiful sauce over everything.  A great even elegant way to serve this unbeatable fare.

3/19: Comment Call out, from “Jose Canseco”: On another note, my 100 year old Irish grandmother-in-law says in her day they never ate corned beef, rather corned pork. Her preferred part of the hog for pickling is spare ribs, so now I throw a few racks into the brine along with the brisket and tongue I pickle every year and the result is fantastic.

Great idea, and thanks for historical note. This would work great.  For those who want to try this, be forewarned that spare ribs cured with sodium nitrite will have take on a distinctly bacony flavor.  I recommend searing on grill, then adding to the pot!

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48 Wonderful responses to “Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage
and Red Potatoes”

  • Marcus

    Michael, I’m a bit unclear about how you are describing to cook the corned beef:

    “First cook your corned beef (simmered for a few hours, braised, wrapped in foil with sliced onions for 4 hours at 250—how I did it—or even cooked sous vide). Only way not to cook this is slow roasting (a perfectly fine strategy but won’t give you the liquid you need to finish the cabbage here).”

    You wrapped in foil and cook at 250, what is the difference between that and “slow roasting”, which you say to not do?

    This is my first time to post here and I just recently started following your blog. I received your Charcuterie book for Christmas and love it. I have some lemon confit working right now (since Jan) and have been using brines a lot more in my cooking (esp pork chops). Soon I plan to tackle something bigger like curing my own bacon. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Jake

      Speaking of lemon confit, can anyone provide a recipe that features it well?

      I have some made from the book but don’t know what to do with it.

      Thanks

    • enrique

      with a slow roast, theres no liquid added to the item you throw in the oven. with a braised item, you add liquid such as chicken stock, beef stock, veg stock, or even water (usually about 1/4 to even 1/2 way up). this will create a stock on its own which you then reintroduce to the other items on your plate and/or a reheating liquid.
      a slow roast wont render enough liquid to work with.
      hope that makes sense…

    • Carey Smoot

      The cooking method Michael is referring to is called oven braising which means moist heat, covered. Roasting is considered dry heat, uncovered. Cooking a brisket uncovered would not be good at all. He does get a bit ahead of himself with his instructions though.

      I had the unfortunate experience of a “bad” St Paddy’s day dinner and am currently brining my own brisket for a good dinner next week.

      Try curing your own pancetta before you add smoking to the equation to make your bacon. I love the addition of allspice to the exterior rub of the pancetta.

  • Mike

    I haven’t tried corning my own beef yet, but the corned beef at our local supermarket will do until I take that step. I’ve found the crock pot works just fine, on low heat for about 10 hours. As to the cabbage, I cut it into one-inch pieces, blanch and drain it, and saute in butter with salt and pepper until the thinner pieces are lightly brown at the edges. I’ve converted cabbage haters with it.

  • Alex

    That looks seriously good. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. I did something similar with tongue a couple of weeks ago. Never thought I’d like it but it was sublimely good

  • ruhlman

    marcus, slow roasting would be in a pan open to the air. When it’s wrapped in foil, it’s in effect steaming. It also drops a lot of liquid that will become your sauce.

    nancy, wrapped in foil it creates its own braising liquid. when i’ve braised it in the past, i’ve used water heavily seasoned with garlic onion and the pickling spices.

    • Rick T.

      We do the same except sub in about 1/2 of a large bottle of Guinness for some of the water and rub the beef with some brown sugar to offset some of the bitterness of the beer.

  • Leela@SheSimmers

    From now on, I will always remember to sear the cabbage wedges first before braising them. It’s one of those things that make you go, “It makes so much sense. How come I never thought of that?”

  • Kalynskitchen

    I love your idea of cooking the cabbage in the cooking liquid from the corned beef. This year I did roasted cabbage, but I’ll definitely try your idea another time.

  • Swain

    Looks excellent!

    I just removed 30lbs of Corned Beef from the water bath (a large cooler with polyscience circulator) that I cooked Sous Vide at 60C for two days. Now it’s off to the big green egg for a little grilling and smoke.

  • Dan, hobby cook

    Jake,

    I assume that the “lemon confit” you’re talking about is the same as the “preserved lemon” that I make, packed in salt & spices for a month.

    I love to put a little in the food processor to start a dressing, either a vinaigrette (we used it on an apple / fennel slaw last weekend) or an aioli (fabulous for a seafood salad).

  • Chris K

    I’ve got corned beef simmering on the stove right now.

    I didn’t have a pot big enough to cook a 5 lb. slab of brisket flat, so I cut off the uneven end (after brining all week), packed it with a black pepper/coriander/juniper rub, and tossed it in the smoker. Helloooo home made pastrami!

    If there’s any leftover corned beef tonight, I’m definitely making hash for breakfast tomorrow.

    But the pastrami – man, that’s the real payoff.

  • Badger

    You can never go wrong with the combination of bacon and cabbage. It’s like they were made for each other.

  • tea_austen

    I had the first corned beef of my life on Sunday (made by @marriedwdinner’s husband). Amazingly good. We were all lamenting that the dish doesn’t get made more often, very underrated.

    I love the idea of adding mustard.

  • Nancy B

    Michael,
    If I put more garlic in will it resemble the fabulous sliced, garlicy, foot high, corned beef on rye sandwiches sold by Jewish delis in NY & Chicago? I’ve been trying to duplicate that for 20 years! It’s so juicy, too!

  • Collin

    Michael – I’ve sous vide-ed (sous vided? Help – I need a verb!) corned beef before with truly magical results, however, there was maybe only 2 cups of liquid at the end. Would that be enough for the cabbage preparation you mention?

  • Stephanie Manley

    Love the way you cooked the cabbage, I haven’t cooked it like that before. I want to try to braise it just like you did. I have always enjoyed cabbage boiled with a little salt, pepper, and butter. This certainly sounds far more tasty!

  • Cali

    I have our corned beef on the stove in the pressure cooker (it’s almost five and we want to eat it tonight,) with some onion, garlic, pepper corns, bay leaves and a beer and filtered water liquid. I didn’t have the other ingredients for the pickling spice, nor did the corned beef come with the little packet of spices it always came with in the past. Oh well. But I will make the rest of this meal the same way. Much better than the old “Irish boil.” It looks delicious!

  • Jose Canseco

    I find that part of the pleasure of comfort food is the ritual of preparation. I love sous vide cooking, carmelized cabbage is great, and I always do my passover brisket covered in a low oven with aromatics, but St. Patty’s day would not be the same for me without an old cast iron cauldron with corned beef, potatoes and cabbage simmering away in the kitchen.

    On another note, my 100 year old Irish grandmother-in-law says in her day they never ate corned beef, rather corned pork. Her preferred part of the hog for pickling is spare ribs, so now I throw a few racks into the brine along with the brisket and tongue I pickle every year and the result is fantastic.

  • luis

    I love gadgets I set and then forget….The amazing simple instructions from Michael on making corned beff at home are a can do big time. I will shamelessly copy the instructions or look it up in my very own copy of Charcutterie…
    The slow cooking Michael is so fond of is delegated to my Hamilton Beach slow cooker with temp probe. That is like a match made in heaven.
    I will substitute the potatoes for corn. I can pan fry it or stir fry it to caramelize it a bit and then We will achieve the proper sugar salt and fat ratio we all love so much…
    This is a great dish Michael….fantastic…

  • po-ta-to

    Re: poaching potatoes in hot but not boiling water. Why so? Would the boiling water break down the starch too quickly and just leave one with mush and quite starchy water? Is there other rationale?

    • ruhlman

      The agitation can tear the potatoes up, over cook the exterior before interior is tender.

  • Rhonda

    Ruhlman,

    This I can understand.

    The peanut butter and cabbage sandwich — not so much.

    You must be a human fart machine.

    It should be St. Donna Day for living with you. I say this with love, from a far… way, way afar.

  • Kathleen O'Neill

    I love the idea of wrapping the beef in foil. We catered corn beef dinners
    yesterday and I made a horseradish and mustard sauceto drizzle over the
    vegetables and the beef. Basically I started out with butter and flour (ruox stlye) and gradually added the broth from the meat and veggies. As it thickened I added drained horseradish and dijon mustard to taste. It was wonderful.
    Love your blog Michael!

  • Alisa

    The great thing about this recipe is one can make this even if its not St. Patrick’s day

  • allen

    I made the short rib version of corned beef and slow cooked it over root vegetables, inspired from a recipe on simplyrecipes.com, I shredded the cabbage and onion, seared in a saute pan until brown with some of the broth and it was great with some spicy grain mustard, horseradish and Irish beer.
    I’m still paying for my egg nogg sins so I am not adding any additional bacon this time, I need to live long enough to enjoy the next xmas egg nogg batch. I’m going to make a little corned beef hash with poached eggs this weekend, and perhaps a reuben sandwich if there is enough left over. And I’ll be a bad boy and have a traditonal Irish coffee, a simple recipe from Davy Byrnes pub in Dublin:
    2 oz of Irish whiskey
    2tbsp of sugar
    1 cup of strong coffee
    stir and top with fresh whipped cream, use good heavy whipped cream – they have great dairy products in Ireland and it makes the drink.

  • Sue

    Does this mean I should follow the home-cured corned beef recipe & then simmer the corned beef for 4 hours?

    • ruhlman

      should work great! make sure you keep it submerged. next time get your pink salt from butcher-packer.com. cheaper than sausage maker.

  • Claire

    I’ve corned my own brisket 2 times now. I’ve used a dry rub of spices, salt and pink salt in a ziploc bag. (takes up less room in a small fridge) Seven days was enough to cure it all the way through. I really need to get the method consistent though. I used your dry cure mixture (for pancetta) plus pickling spices and other herbs but would like to understand the proportion of pink salt to salt for this type of curing. Also I’ve read to soak the dry cured corned beef in several changes of water before braising. I do that but have no idea how long or how many changes of water before cooking. It came out great both times, but I felt like I was flying blind. Do any of your books have a method for making corned beef from scratch?

  • LauraJ

    “First cook your corned beef (simmered for a few hours, braised, wrapped in foil with sliced onions for 4 hours at 250—how I did it—or even cooked sous vide). Only way not to cook this is slow roasting (a perfectly fine strategy but won’t give you the liquid you need to finish the cabbage here).”

    um, how much liquid?? Does the liquid just come from the beef? This recipe is really vague on that point.

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