For this year's St. Patrick's Day we've decided to make corned beef in our new slow cooker. Online there are many discussions about the origin of this dish (is it even Irish?) and many different variations on the basic recipe. The recipe below is a combination of several different recipes we found online. It is simple to make, although it does require a lot of time to cook in a slow cooker, so it's best to start it a day before you want to serve it (especially since it's best served cold). The recipe doesn't go crazy on spices or other flavorings. Instead it lets beef and basic spices provide most of the flavor profile which is slowly released during the long cooking process.
- 1 corned beef brisket with spice packet
- 1-2 quartered onions
- 3-4 chopped celery stalks
- 1 head of cabbage sliced into eighths
- 4-5 coarsely chopped carrots
- 5-8 quartered red potatoes
- 2-4 sliced turnips
- 1 coarsely chopped parsnip
- bay leaf
- black peppercorns
- 0.5-1 cup of light beer (Here I am using my homemade beer. Do not use Guinness or other dark beers.)
Place potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions, along with a generous helping of black peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves on the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour 4 cups of water over the vegetables. Don't worry if water does not cover all of it - vegetables and meat will let out a surprising amount of water during the cooking process.
Place the brisket on top with the fatty side facing down. Slowly pour beer over the brisket. Evenly spread spices from the spice packet over the brisket.
Set the cooker on Low and cook for 8 hours.
After 8 hours stir in cabbage and celery. Depending on the size of the slow cooker and the cabbage, it may require a little effort to squeeze everything into the pot while still being able to tightly close the lid. Slicing cabbage into smaller pieces helps with this. Leave the cooker set to Low and cook for another 4 hours.
After 4 hours everything should be cooked and smelling wonderfully. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Serve cold with rye or soda bread, and mustard and/or horseradish on the side. Wash it down with a glass of dark beer, such as Guinness.
Enjoy and happy St. Patrick's Day!