Corned Beef and Cabbage With Root Vegetables and Horseradish Sauce




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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!

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Step 1: Boil Meat

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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    27 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    8 years ago on Introduction

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


    8 years ago on Step 6

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


    9 years ago on Step 1

    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!

    2 replies

    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


    12 years ago

    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!

    8 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 12 years ago

    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. ;)


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Step 6

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


    10 years ago on Step 6

    This has made me so hungry i could punch an infant


    10 years ago on Step 4



    12 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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