Saturday, March 16, 2013

Corned Beef and Vegetables

A corned beef dinner can be cooked in a slow cooker, on top of the stove, in a pressure cooker, or even baked. I prefer it cooked in water, so I won’t talk about baking it. Whether you use the slow cooker, the pressure cooker, or a pot on top of the stove, it’s pretty much the same. You cover the corned beef with water, add some seasonings, and simmer it gently until it’s fall apart tender. You can cook it all day in the slow cooker on low or for one hour in the pressure cooker or for a few hours in a pot on top of the stove. Most people cook the veggies – carrots and onion for sure, and maybe celery, parsnips, or rutabagas, and probably potatoes – with the meat and then add the cabbage for the last half hour or so.

When I cooked corned beef a couple of weeks ago (it was leftover from when it was on sale a year ago and really needed to be used), I cooked it in the pressure cooker. When it was done, I took it out of the liquid and set it aside to rest. Then I took some of the liquid and cooked some Brussels sprouts and carrots in it. By the time the vegetables were done, the meat had rested enough that it was much easier to cut, and the vegetables weren’t cooked to death. It worked great.

In case you didn’t catch it – be sure to let the corned beef rest for a bit before you cut it. You want to slice it across the grain and it will fall apart if you cut it immediately. After fifteen minutes or so, it should stay together pretty well so you can make nice thin slices. About a quarter of an inch or so seems to be standard for slicing corned beef to eat as a meat dish on its own.

Here are some things to do with corned beef, in addition to the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage. You can use leftover corned beef in them, or you can cook up a chunk of corned beef special to use in these recipes. And don’t forget corned beef sandwiches. Corned beef on rye, with Swiss cheese and mustard. Or a Reuben sandwich, with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. If you’re planning on leftovers, remember that there’s a lot of shrinkage. You’ll need to start with twice as much as you need cooked. Need more options? Try 

Corned Beef and Cabbage Saute
Corned Beef Omelet
Corned Beef Quiche
Corned Beef Scramble
Cream of Reuben Soup

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