I get a surprising number of requests for "Corned Beef and Cabbage". I am going to be honest with you though, Corned Beef and Cabbage is not really a southern Kentucky kind of dish. I was never really sure why this would be the case, because of the large percentage of those living here with Irish heritage. However, when I researched the dish, I found out that it's actually an Irish American tradition and dish and not much of an actual Irish one at all. From what I read, the Irish did produce beef and corned beef, but most of the working class folks did not eat a lot of beef, because it was very expensive and their cows were for milking, not eating. What they did eat, was a lot of pork, which they cured and could keep easier and was more available and less expensive. That is very much how my grandparents, who were farmers, lived right here in Kentucky. They relied heavily on pork, much more than beef or even chicken. Cows produced milk, butter and such and chickens laid eggs. You didn't eat those because they produced things you could eat, sell or trade.
It seems the corned beef became an Irish American favorite from the unique blending of Jewish Americans and Irish Americans when they both began settling in New York City. The Jewish delis in that area are known for their wonderful way with corned beef and pastrami. I love good pastrami and you actually cannot hardly find it here in southern Kentucky, I guess because so few people eat it.
This is my version of "Corned Beef and Cabbage" and it's probably a little different than the traditional you might be served in the northeast or even in the mid west, but it does result in a very flavorful, delicious meal. Here is what you will need:
4-5 pound corned beef brisket (the kind with the little seasoning packet)
3 medium size onions, quartered
2 cups water mixed with 2 Tbs. beef bullion granules or 1 can beef broth
2 Tbs. minced garlic
black pepper (fresh ground is best)
5-6 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds
5-6 potatoes, peeled and cut in fourths
1 head green cabbage, cored and cut in four wedges
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. spicy brown or Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. prepared horseradish
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
In a large, 5 to 6 quart, slow cooker place the quartered onions on the bottom. Rinse the corned beef brisket off with cool water and pat dry. Place it on top of the onions. Sprinkle lightly with seasoned salt and grind fresh black pepper over it. Sprinkle the contents of the seasoning packet over the brisket. Sprinkle the minced garlic over all. Mix the water with the bouillon powder and pour around the meat. Don't pour it over the top, it will wash all of your seasoning off of it.
Set the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. When it has cooked for 4 hours, add the potatoes, carrots and wedges of cabbage right on top to the pot. Sprinkle the vegetables with some salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 4 more hours on low.
With a large spatula, carefully remove the meat to a large baking dish. Mix the brown sugar, mustard, prepared horseradish and Worcestershire sauce until smooth and pour it over the brisket. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes uncovered. You might need to add just a little water to the bottom of the pan, but don't add much. If this seems like a lot of cooking time, it is. Brisket is a very tough cut of meat. It needs the long slow cooking and lots of it.
This just puts a nice brown glaze and finish on the meat. It might just be the southerner in me, but this step just makes this thing called corned beef better. Let the meat sit and rest once out of the oven for about 15 minutes. Slice, across the grain, in nice even slices. Be sure to slice across the grain or you will have corned beef strings. If you cut the wrong way it shreds and this is not a cut of meat to shred.
I just placed the brisket in the serving pan that I would serve the entire dish in at the table, so that all I had to do was place the cabbage, carrots and potatoes around the slices of meat and ladle some of delicious juices over all.