Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Irish Cooking Night: Crockpot Corned Beef

March's cooking night was Irish themed. I was hesitant when selecting the menu. It seems corned beef is more of an Irish peasant food that Americans favor far more than the origin country. Yet, corned beef is Irish. Those at cooking night were all Americans and it was a celebration of Irish food, therefore it fit.

Once decided on corned beef, I got it in my head that I wanted to corn my own. Alton Brown's version took nearly a week. I found a version on food.com submitted by one of my favorite contributors (evelyn/athens) that only took 3 days. Awesome. Then I went to the store. $6 / lb for brisket! I was shocked. It was actually cheaper to get beef that was already corned. I waited a week to check the next week's sale ad. Since it was St. Patrick's Day week, there was a chance. The reality was that the corned beef brisket was dropped further to $3/lb. As an added bonus, they had a low sodium option. I'm not a fan of over salted food so I was instantly drawn to that option. I do want to corn my own but being responsible with spending money was more important than being excited about corning my own beef.

If you're planning a cooking event for 7-8 people, you need a guess at how much meat you need. Most party planning I've seen suggests 6 oz per person. I went with 3.5 lb. It came out perfectly portioned. Again, if you're planning a cooking party, its important to have an idea of time. Corned beef is cooked slowly. It can be cooked on the stovetop or crockpot. With either option, it should be cooked for 4 hours. To me, the crockpot choice became a no-brainer. I feel uncomfortable leaving my house with a stove eye on but not the crockpot. To each their own though.





Crockpot Corned Beef  (Click here for a printer friendly copy of the recipe)


Ingredients:

2 small onions, sliced
6 c. water
3.5 lb corned beef (raw), low sodium

How To:

Remove corned beef from packaging. Retrieve spice packet from package.

Place corned beef in crockpot and rub the spices from the spice packet all over the meat, especially on the areas without fat. Leave the fat on to cook the meat.

Cover the meat with water.

Slice onions and set them on top of the meat. They should be just covered by the water.

Set your crockpot on high for 4 hours. If you have a crockpot with a time setting, you can simply choose 4 hours. (Thanks, Tif!)

After 4 hours, remove from the crockpot. Remove the fat, slice and serve.

If you're not ready to serve at 4 hours, set the crockpot to simmer and the meat will wait on you unharmed until you are prepared to serve it.

Reaction:


What? What do you mean, that's it? Yes, that's it. Simple. As an added bonus, it got rave reviews. Everyone loved it. A couple people went back for thirds. One person decided they needed to get some and cook it at home (since it was still on sale). Minimal input, 14 thumbs up--This is a recipe sure to be repeated.


Hungry for more? Stay tuned. I'll be posting the rest of the recipes in upcoming posts.
Our Irish Night Menu:
Entree: Corned Beef (today's post)
Vegetable Side #1: Haggerty (Potatoes with onions and cheese)
Vegetable Side #2: Baby Carrots and Onions in Cream
Dessert: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Icing


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