A slow cooker is ideal for St. Patrick's Day this year. The holiday falls on a Monday, and most people will be working and perhaps having to get a dinner for friends together after work. In that case you can pack it all into a slow cooker and when you get home, you just open it, insert the cabbage wedges and cook it a little more while guests arrive and the cabbage gets tender. This also affords you an opportunity to share a real Irish dinner with your family.
Irish beer or ale would be a traditional accompaniment to this dinner rather than wine, but a vivid wine that stands up to the corning spices will be fine as well. I would normally serve wine myself because I am not a beer drinker, and if you are not either, you can also find some recipes that use beer in main dishes and desserts. There are also several Irish liqueurs that can be served with the coffee and dessert to make a lively evening.
I saw all kinds of beef briskets Saturday as I shopped at Costco off Campbell/Kino Parkway in Tucson. You must read the manufacturer's cooking instructions before setting it to braise, because they may or may not include a seasoning packet, or the brisket may be packed in a seasoning solution. Make sure you know just how to prepare it with the help of the low-and-slow braising method.
SAINT PATRICK'S SLOW COOKER CORNED BEEF
From Betty Crocker
1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia, sliced
1 well-trimmed corned beef brisket (3 to 3-1/2 lbs.)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 head of cabbage, cut into 6 or 8 wedges
1 cup sour cream (one standard 8-ounce package)
2 Tablespoons cream-style prepared horseradish
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place the sliced onions across the bottom. Thoroughly rinse the beef. Place it on the onion bed and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
In a small bowl, mix the broth and Worcestershire sauce; pour over the beef. Sprinkle the contents of the seasoning packet (if necessary) over the beef and broth.
Cover and cook on Low heat for 6 to 7 hours or until the beef is tender. Open the slow cooker and place the cabbage wedges on top of the beef. Cook for 1 hour longer or until the beef is fork-tender and the cabbage is done.
Remove the beef and onion from the slow cooker, using a slotted spoon. Discard the broth and seasoning spices. Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices.
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, horseradish and parsley until well blended. Serve with the beef and onion, accompanied by the cooked cabbage.
You will want to sprinkle the cabbage wedges with salt and drizzle them with melted butter before serving.