What could be easier than slowly cooking a corned beef with winter vegetables? Not much. You can either cook this in a large pot on the stove or use a large slow cooker. The key is to make sure that the meat is fork-tender.
You’ll find uncooked, seasoned corned beef in the meat section of your market this time of year. If you are serving a crowd you will want to double this recipe because a 4-pound corned beef will serve six at most. Corned beef brisket will shrink more than you think, so plan accordingly.
Each year I have made the standard corned beef and cabbage and it has always been well received. This year I wanted to shake it up a bit, though, so I glazed the corned beef and caramelized the cabbage for a surprisingly delicious, yet familiar meal. I’m a big proponent of cooking in stages. Here, you can cook the corned beef and sauté the cabbage hours ahead so the last-minute cooking is minimal. These steps can be done up to six hours ahead.
Most recipes call for serving the corned beef, cabbage and root vegetables right out of the pot. This rendition cooks the corned beef completely and then is finished with a sweet and savory apricot mustard glaze that adds a wonderful flavor dimension. Cabbage is one of those vegetables that I think is underrated. I am a big fan of sauteing it to bring out its sweetness. The leeks add even more garden sweetness. It’s easy to do this while the corned beef is simmering.
Make sure to reserve the broth for cooking the root vegetables. The pickling spices from the broth add a tangy, savory flavor to the winter root vegetables. To drink, try an Irish stout, of course.