Introduction: Corned Beef and Cabbage With Root Vegetables and Horseradish Sauce

Picture of Corned Beef and Cabbage With Root Vegetables and Horseradish Sauce

Corned beef and cabbage (AKA New England Boiled Dinner) is a classic St. Patrick's Day and New Year's Eve dish.   It's incredibly easy to make, and tastes so much better when made at home.

Try this recipe, and be sure to cook up a pile of root vegetables and cabbage to go along with your meat.  They're fabulous cooked in the beef stock!

Step 1: Boil Meat

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Select a package of corned beef from the refrigerated section of your local supermarket. Make sure the meat will fit inside the pot you'll be using.

If you live in New England then you've probably got a choice between pink and gray pieces; go for the gray one, which hasn't been chemically treated to maintain its color. Those of us in the rest of the country are doing well to get our hands on corned beef at all.

Cut open the package, and dump the meat into your large pot. Fill it with cold water enough to cover the meat, and put the pot on to boil. Your corned beef will either come with a seasoning packet, or the meat will have been packed in loose seasonings; either way, make sure the seasonings make it into the pot as well. Don't was the meat or trim off any fat; it just goes straight in.

Keep the pot at a low boil for a couple of hours, or until you can easily stab through the thickest part of the meat with a paring knife. Add more water to keep the meat covered. The cook time will vary depending on size.

You can use a pressure cooker to speed things along if you're pressed for time. My cookbook recommends cooking a chunk of corned beef for an hour at 15psi, but I found this was much longer than I liked, and I haven't tested and optimized timing for the pressure cooker. If I've got time, I prefer to let the meat simmer on the stove all afternoon. The house smells fantastic, it takes no effort besides an hourly water check, and it's impossible to screw up.

When the meat is done, remove it from the pot to cool. Tongs are great for this. Reserve the liquid in the pot- we'll use it next.

Step 2: Select Veggies

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Select some good root vegetables. I used about 2 pounds each of turnips, rutabagas, and carrots. You may use potatoes as well, but I find them boring in this context. Beets are to be avoided as they stain the water and the flavor isn't quite complementary.

Get a nice head or two of green cabbage. I usually use two heads, because cabbage is really good cooked this way. If you're unsure, just get a small head and give it a try. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Step 3: Chop and Boil Veggies

Picture of Chop and Boil Veggies

Chop the vegetables into roughly equally-sized chunks. The turnips and rutabagas are usually good cut into 8 or 12 pieces; the carrots 4 or 6. The cabbage will remain intact if you leave the stem on; just trim the end of it, then cut the cabbage in half through the stem. Place the cut half face down, and cut into 3-4 wedges such that each is held together by the stem.

You can boil them in one go or in batches. I boiled all the root vegetables together, which took about 15 minutes; stab them with a fork or knife to check doneness. The cabbage only takes about 5 minutes, so I cooked it last. Your time will vary according to the volume and initial temperature of your broth and veggies, so trust your fork instead of a timer.

If you're cooking the vegetables in batches, use a slotted spoon to scoop them out between batches, leaving as much of the broth and seasoning as possible in the pot.

Step 4: Horseradish Sauce

Picture of Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish sauce is a standard side for this dish.

Mix a roughly even amount of prepared horseradish and mayonnaise, and taste; if you like it stronger, add more horseradish. If it's too strong, dilute with mayo until you're happy.

Add a dollop of mustard, and some form of pepper: paprika if the horseradish is already too much, chili powder for a mid-range approach, or sriracha chili sauce for extra kick.

Stir, and serve on the side.

Step 5: Slice Meat

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Once the meat has cooled, pull out a nice big, sharp knife and a large cutting board.

Trim off the pad of fat from the top of the meat. It's very tasty, but absolutely terrible for you.

Now cut the corned beef into thin slices, cutting against the grain.

Step 6: Serve

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Serve as soon as the vegetables are done. If you pile everything up like I've done below, the hot vegetables will re-warm the meat nicely.

This dish is good hot or room temperature; cold too, for some. The meat is definitely good cold, and makes great sandwiches with the extra horseradish sauce.


triumphman (author)2012-03-15

Just made this, I'm not Irish but love the food! I buy two corned beasts, the second one is for St. Patrick's day! I am going to make a small Irish Soda Bread tomorrow in my bread machine! It comes out yummy! I Love to eat good food so I cook for my wifey, while she is at work. Love being retired and doing what I like! Who said real men don't cook?

lroche2 (author)2011-08-15

why does the cabbage look weird......and stiff?
cabbage should be boilled till soft and nice...........and sice when corned beef look like that.......

curiousmomma (author)2011-06-05

We've found just a few tablespoons of vinegar when your boiling your meat and vegetables gives t a wonderful flavor.

elicenter (author)2010-05-27

I think I just got an idea for my first instructable: homemade corned beef.  Would rather have had the idea back in December or so, but I'll take it... stay tuned!

Alton Brown covered this on Good Eats a few years ago. The recipe may be on the Food Network website. I'm sure that it will be in one of his cook books. Check yur local library!

Suzanne in Orting, WA

canida (author)elicenter2011-03-17

Did you ever make it? Only takes a week.

raccoon (author)2007-01-17

I just found and joined this site today, and it's really great. I like to cook this meal, but generally cook it with leeks rather than onions. I never use those "spice packets" that come with the beef...pepper corns and whole cloves are much better. Observations about omitting beets and potatos are quite accurate. I use half green and half red cabbage, and usually add a small shot of Japanese Wasabi paste to the horseradish. Your entry on cutting up a catfish was great!

Phoghat (author)raccoon2010-03-18

I don't like the spice packets either. I use whole pepper corns and a spash of vinegar.  Leeks sound interesting.
As for horse radish sauce, I don't care for one with only mayo:
1 1/2 cup sour cream or 3/4 cup each sour cream and mayo
1/4 cup prepared horseradish, drained
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sniped chives
salt and pepper, to taste

I wish I could get the recipe for "Arby's Horsy Sauce"

I looked this up for you at Todd Wilbur's website. I don't hve this book yet, but I have a bunch of his other ones.

"This original recipe can be found in Todd Wilbur's bestselling cookbook:
Top Secret Recipes Unlocked."

Suzanne in Orting, WA

canida (author)raccoon2007-01-17

Thanks! The wasabi paste sounds fantastic- I'll have to try that next time. The corned beef I can get here comes pre-marinated in the spice mix, and I was too lazy to rinse it off. I'm looking forward to seeing what you post. ;)

leebryuk (author)canida2007-11-15

Hello, I'm hoping you can tell me where to find decent corn beef. I live in Florida, and all of the stuff down here is INCREDIBLY fatty. It's so bad my family no longer buys it. A pre-spiced package goes for $15, and you literally throw half of it away. And we do buy from a reputable big chain grocer. Thanks

canida (author)leebryuk2007-11-16

You can always make your own corned beef- it's just brining with spices. Purchase a lean beef brisket (this is a pretty cheap cut of meat, and you can pre-trim it to your preference) then brine it in a big ziplock bag. Mogul's comment below has a recipe for brining your own corned beef. It's just spices, maybe a bit of sugar, and salt with enough water to cover the meat. I haven't done this myself, yet, but will definitely post an Instructable when I do. Hopefully someone else will get there first!

leebryuk (author)canida2007-11-17

Thanks to you both. I'll give it a go!

raccoon (author)raccoon2007-11-15

OK...this (the corned beef) is not my instructable, you probably thought you had written to canida. I've screwed up that way myself. Anyway, I share your pain. I live in Texas and have the same problem. Do you have a "Whole Foods" or "Sprouts" store in your area? If so, you can get them to special order a corned beef for you....and you can also put together one on your own, but it takes patience and time, and I seldom have both (or either). Hope this helps.

canida (author)raccoon2007-11-16

;) Thanks!

danielg123 (author)2010-03-03

lol me to!! lol st. Patricks day is just 2 weeks away i cant wait!

vandal1138 (author)2009-07-11

This has made me so hungry i could punch an infant

vandal1138 (author)2009-07-11


mogui (author)2007-08-19

I start by making my own corned beef. This last batch went like this (from my notes): "Made a batch of corned beef. Put the meat in a plastic bag with cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns and some fennel. Skipped the sugar this time. Used four small condiment spoons of salt, maybe two teaspoons. Filled bag and shook it. Kept in square container in the fridge. The last batch was used after one week. It was quite good." You can use the corned beef after one or two weeks. Take the beef out of the brine and put it in fresh water to cook it or it will be way too salty. Cook it very slowly to keep it tender. For the last hour of cooking I add potatoes and cabbage. The parsnips, turnips and rutabaga sound great too. The potatoes will soak up most of the residual saltiness. I serve mine with prepared mustard and French bread. I will try the horseradish sauce soon too, but I think I will use sour cream in place of the mayonnaise.

canida (author)mogui2007-08-20

Sounds good! Post it as an Instructable next time you make it.

phenoptix (author)2007-04-20

Rutabaga=Swede (In English :P)

spinach_dip (author)2007-01-04

RE: pressure cooker. I was hopeful I'd get some tips. Unfortunately, my experiment with pressure cooked corned beef ended up way too salty. I then found a OK crock pot recipe that I've used up to the point that the ex-GF took away the crock pot. If I take a stab at it again, I think I'll strain the spices first, reserving them and then maybe un-brine the corned beef by soaking it in plain water until osmosis takes it's toll. Toss back in to the pressure cooker with plain water and the rood veggies and cook. Cabbage must, most likely be added at the end. If anyone has any success, please post an instructable.

spinach_dip (author)spinach_dip2007-01-04

Crock Pot Corned Beef And Cabbage 3 carrots -- cut 3-inch pieces (or a bunch of the ready-to-eat ones) 4 Pounds corned beef brisket (with the spices and brine added too) 3 Medium onions -- quartered 3-6 red potatoes, scrubbed and peeled around the center. 1 Cup water 1/2 small head of cabbage -- cut wedges Put all ingredients in order listed except cabbage in crockpot. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add cabbage wedges to liquid, pushing down to moisten. Turn to high and cook 2 to 3 hours more. You can throw the entire head of cabbage in there, but that's a lot of cabbage. It works out ok if you dice the remaining meat and veggies and make cabbage soup. This works out well if you set it going before you leave for work. The only problem is the two hour wait after you get home and add the cabbage.

Punkguyta (author)spinach_dip2007-02-23

Thats how I make it, except I leave it on high all day. Say I put it on at noon, then it's usually all ready to go at supper time (6-7pm). I just put carrots, cabbage (of course) and any other veggies I have around. Then I usually use any broth left over to make gravy for the next meal. If you're waiting two hours after you get home, just put the cabbage in there when you first put all the corned beef in there. What time are you putting it on too?

canida (author)spinach_dip2007-01-04

It tasted fine, but was just overcooked. With beans we've conducted sequential experiments to determine proper cooking time, but I couldn't be bothered for something we eat 1-2x/year. I found the saltiness to be equivalent in the pressure cooker or a regular pot; perhaps the brand of corned beef you're buying is simply over-salted? If so, just rinsing the brine off may be sufficient. For another round of salt removal you can swap the cooking liquid halfway through, which is easier than giving the meat a separate soak. The root veggies should be cooked after the meat is done, as should the cabbage. An hour at full pressure would turn any root vegetable into mush.

LasVegas (author)2007-01-05

Hmmm... I've always considered this more of a St. Patrick's Day meal. For New Years, I've always thought it was Black Eye Peas & Hocks. Mmmm!

canida (author)LasVegas2007-01-17

It depends on your background! If you're Irish and/or from New England, it's boiled dinner all the way. I usually also make black eyed peas and greens for New Years, but lamed out this year. I'll put my version up sometime soon. Yours?

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Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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