Corned beef and cabbage are one of our absolute favorite one-pot meals (especially for St. Patricks Day). We learned how to make it on the stove top. But about 15 years ago a friend suggested making it in the oven in a cocotte and we discovered the more gentle and indirect heat of the oven produced a more tender and richer result. A slow-cooker is also a good option.
This dish is also known as New England Boiled Beef, but boiling meat is always a bad idea. It makes the meat tough and squeezes out the juices.
- 1 2-lb. corned beef brisket; trimmed of visible fat
- 1 bottle of beer (or 6-12 oz. water or beef broth)
- 2 tsp. coriander seed
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. dill seed
- 1 tsp. whole allspice
- optional: 1 tsp. juniper berries*
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 carrots; peeled and cut into 1" lengths
- 1 large onion, 4" diameter; cut into quarters
- 2 turnips, 3" diameter; cut in quarters
- 1/4 head cabbage; cut in half
- 2 waxy potatoes (such as Red Bliss), 3" diameter; cut in quarters
Heat oven to 325 F.
Place spices in a tea ball or make a small bag made out of cheesecloth.
Rinse corned beef and place in a large dutch oven (compare prices).
Add beer, 1 carrot, 1/2 onion, and spice mixture and enough additional beer, water, or broth to barely cover brisket. Place over medium heat and bring to a vigorous simmer; but do not boil. Cover and place on lower-middle rack in the oven.
Cook 1 hour, turn brisket over and add enough additional water (if needed) to bring level half-way up meat. Repeat 1 hour later.
After 3 hours, remove from oven and remove brisket from broth and set on a plate. Strain out carrots and onions and discard along with spice mixture.
Add all remaining vegetables, place on stove over medium-low heat, cover, and cook for half an hour or until vegetables are fork tender. Remove from heat.
Slice brisket across the grain and add it back to vegetable mixture to warm up.
We like to serve this with a collection of mustards: Dijon, Polish, honey-mustard, whatever. Then I'll smear one slice of meat with Dijon, another with honey-mustard, and a potato with Polish. The various mustards give each bite a unique flavor.
*Juniper berries have wonderfully resinous flavor. If you can't find them at your local gourmet store, you might add a sprig of fresh rosemary instead.