Hey, What’s Cookin’?
(This week I am taking the opportunity to feature a favorite recipe from the earlier days of m.e.l.t. While this recipe is not new to you, I hope you make it again and enjoy it as much as I have! JC)
Saint Patrick’s Day is March 17, and we all know what that means to us Americans—corned beef! But can corned beef be part of a conscientious m.e.l.t.er’s diet? The answer, happily, is YES!
Corned beef is available in two cuts:
- Flat cut (AKA “first cut”): the fat is mostly external; the more expensive of the cuts
- Point cut (AKA “second cut” or deckle): the meat is marbled with fat; the cheaper of the cuts
The better choice is always the flat cut, as you will get more lean meat per pound. It also slices more neatly and does not tend to shred like the point cut can. You do not need to trim the external fat before cooking, but be sure to remove it before eating.
Reduced-sodium corned beef has been on the market for a number of years. It’s not always easy to find, so you may have to search a couple of stores to obtain it. It’s a bit more expensive, but the reduced sodium level makes it a superior choice. You will not notice any lack of flavor by having less salt!
So now that you’ve selected a nice 3-4.5 lb. reduced-sodium, flat cut corned beef brisket, what should you serve with it? Cabbage is a traditional accompaniment; onions and carrots often join the plate. Leave out the potatoes and try adding parsnips, turnips, or rutabaga for a different but delicious taste. To keep your plate colorful and appealing, include some green beans—green being the color of choice on St. Paddy’s!
Unlike many slow cooker recipes, the following does not cook both brisket and vegetables together. Too often, the vegetables in the crock pot can overcook, leaving you with mushy, unappealing sides. Instead, one hour before you plan to serve dinner, cook the vegetables separately in the oven to make sure they stay tender-crisp and delicious!
Slow Cooker Corned Beef
- 4-4.5 lb corned beef brisket, flat cut
- 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges from root to tip
- Seasoning packet from corned beef
- 3 tbs vinegar (can use any kind: white, white wine, red wine, apple cider)
- ¼ cup organic apple juice
- 2-3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, or water
- Dijon mustard, for serving
- Place half the onions in the bottom of the crock pot. Arrange the corned beef on top (you may have to halve it) on top and cover with remaining onions.
- Mix the next 4 ingredients together and pour over meat.
- Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low and cook another 6-7 hours.
- When meat is tender, remove from cooker to cutting board and cover loosely with foil, letting it rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with Dijon mustard and the oven-cooked vegetables.
One hour before dinner, prepare and cook the vegetables:
- 1 pound of baby carrots
- 1 small head of green cabbage, sliced into 8 wedges
- 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges from stem to tip
- 1 pound of parsnips, turnips, or rutabagas (or any combination); peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 cup cooking liquid from crock pot or 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
- Salt and pepper, to individual taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place all vegetables into a very large baking dish. Pour 1 cup of cooking liquid from the crock pot (or 1 cup of vegetable broth) over the vegetables.
- Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 40 minutes. Use a fork to test for doneness after 30 minutes; vegetables should be somewhat firm yet pierce readily.
- When vegetables are done remove from oven and keep warm until serving time. Have salt and pepper available for individual seasoning tastes.