A traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner will grace many dinner tables for St. Patrick's Day across the nation. This one-pot boiled dinner is one of the easiest meals to prepare and cook, but unfortunately some of those dinners will consist of stringy and gray corned beef and soggy cabbage. As suggested on Patch on March 16, 2013, every ingredient has a cooking time for a perfect corned beef and cabbage fest.
While the corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage are all boiled, they have three different cooking times and the biggest mistake made with this Irish-American holiday dinner is when everything is put into the pot at the same time and boiled for hours.
A 5 lb corned beef should be brought to a boil and then simmered for 4 hours, as the directions on the package dictate. Instead of the four hours of simmering, make it three and a half hours. For the last half hour, take your brisket and wrap it in aluminum foil then place it on a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven for the last half hour at 350 degrees.
This takes the excess water out of the corned beef while keeping that appetizing brick-red color instead of that gray hue often seen from a water-logged corned beef. This 30 minutes of baking also guards against the meat being stringy and it firms up the brisket making it just right for slicing. Your family will enjoy this fork tender corned beef.
The potatoes and carrots should go into the pot of corned beef and boiled for no more than an hour. Soggy cabbage is also something you want to guard against this St. Patrick's Day. The cabbage is last to go into the pot and should only boil for 15 minutes. While the corned beef is in the oven, the cabbage should boil for the last 15 minutes in the pot with the potatoes and carrots.
Corned beef and cabbage is a very simple meal to prepare, but like your grandmother and her grandmother before her, they knew that it was the timing that made the difference in meal. It's not so much the cut of meat or the type of potatoes used, but for how long each part of this meal was boiled that makes the difference in a successful and delicious dinner.
Many cooks prefer the red potatoes with corned beef and cabbage and some leave the potato skins on while cooking. Others prefer the Yukon Gold potato, peeled and boiled for their corned beef feast. Then there are others who peel up the traditional white potato and toss them into the pot with the rest of the ingredients for this meal. It is all in your preference on what type of potatoes to use. If you are looking for a colorful presentation, the red potato with skins on will put more color on your plate.
Enjoy your dinner and Happy St. Patrick's Day!