Traditional Irish Boiled Dinner

Boiled Dinner - Corned Beef & Cabbage
Steve Manson/Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 45 mins
Total: 4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
698 Calories
30g Fat
36g Carbs
65g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 698
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 190mg 63%
Sodium 816mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Protein 65g
Calcium 179mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for hearty beef brisket is slow cooked on the stovetop with cabbage, leeks, carrots, potatoes, and turnips. Two bottles of beer are added to give depth and richness to the broth without lending any beer flavor.

Boiled dinners like this one are a comfort food in most Irish homes. They are full meals made in a single pot and include everything you need for a delicious family-style dinner complete with your choice of meat (beef, corned beef, pork, lamb, or game meat all work well), potatoes, and lots of vegetables.

It all comes together in no time at all, with most of the effort going into preparing all the fresh veggies. You will, however, have to let this cook for at least 3 1/2 hours, so it's ideal for the weekend when the whole clan can get together and enjoy it. 

Jeff Smith (William Morrow)


  • 3 1/2 pounds beef brisket (patted dry with a paper towel)
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles beer (lager)
  • 2 cups water (or enough to cover)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 cups leeks (white parts only, rinsed and chopped)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 3/4 pound large carrots (peeled and cut into large pieces)
  • 3/4 pound small potatoes (whole red, unpeeled)
  • 1 pound turnips (peeled and quartered)
  • 2 pounds cabbage (green, cut into sixths, secured with toothpicks)
  • 1 dash salt (or to taste)
  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place an 8- to 10-quart stove-top covered casserole dish (such as a Dutch oven) on the burner. Add the beef, beer, water, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, and salt.

  3. Heat a separate frying pan and add the butter or olive oil.

  4. Sauté the garlic, leeks, and yellow onion until translucent and transfer to the casserole.

  5. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover the casserole, simmering gently for 3 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. This will normally take about 1 hour per pound of brisket.

  6. In the last 25 minutes of cooking, add the carrots and red potatoes.

  7. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the turnips, cabbage, salt, and pepper.

  8. If the vegetables are not done to your liking, cook them longer, but do not overcook. 

  9. Thinly slice the meat and serve with the vegetables (remember to remove the toothpicks from the cabbage) and pot juices along with horseradish and grainy mustard if desired.

  10. While not traditional, you can accompany this dish with potato bread or pumpernickel bread to sop up all those flavorful juices.

Source: ​The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith (William Morrow & Co.). Reprinted with permission.

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