St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Corned beef and cabbage is a classic Irish-American dish that many of us enjoy. As a child, mom always made a roast beef with cabbage in the electric skillet. However, my love of corned beef and cabbage has grown and I love using my slow cooker to prepare it for St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year.
Is a slow cooker a safe way to cook?
The slow cooker cooks food by maintaining a relatively low temperature, between 170° and 280° for several hours. The direct heat, steam, and lengthy cooking times destroy bacteria and make it a safe process for preparing food. Slow cookers heat food through heat bands located at the base, which then transfers up the sides of the pot, uniformly cooking the food.
- 3 lbs. Corned Beef (3 pounds is a good size for a family of 4)
- 1 Tbsp. Pickling Spices (sometimes included in the corned beef package)
- 8 medium Potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
- 10 Carrots cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium Onion cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 head of cabbage cleaned and cut into 8 wedges
- Water & 12 oz. Dark Beer
- Thyme (10 sprigs dried or 5 sprigs fresh)
- In a large slow cooker (6 to 7 quart) layer your carrots, potatoes and onions.
- Cover vegetables with water.
- Place your corned beef on top with the fat side up. This will allow for the corned beef to stay moist.
- Sprinkle pickling spices and thyme over the top.
- Add beer and more water to cover the meat.
- Cook on high for the first hour.
- Turn to low and cook for an additional 6 to 7 hours.
- Check the temperature of the corned beef. It should read 165°F. Remove corned beef and allow to rest in a warm oven (175°F) or you may leave it in the cooker if you have enough room for the cabbage.
- Submerge the cabbage in the liquid, place the lid back on the slow cooker and turn the temperature back to high for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Slice the corned beef against the grain and serve with a stone ground mustard.
Follow these steps to prevent foodborne illness when cooking with a slow cooker:
- Be sure to thaw meat before cooking to safely keep it out of the temperature danger zone (41°- 135°).
- Liquid is necessary to create steam and to properly cook food in a slow cooker.
- The lid is important for allowing food to reach an appropriate cooking temperature, so keep the lid closed. It takes the slow cooker 15 to 20 minutes to heat back to the required temperature once the lid has been removed. There is no need to stir the pot while it’s cooking.
Some adjustments should be made when slow cooking at the high altitude. If your cooker has an adjustable temperature control, select a setting that will maintain food at 200° or higher. With only high and low settings available, start the food by cooking on high for the first hour, then continue on high or turn it to low for the remainder. If a recipe provides a range of cooking times, aim for the longer cooking time when cooking at high altitudes. When finished, use a thermometer to ensure that all food in the slow cooker has reached a safe temperature of 165°F.
As with any meal, celebrate with friends and family and learn about the history associated with St. Patrick’s Day.
Sláinte Mhaith (Good Health)