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You don't have to wait for St. Patrick's Day to enjoy a fine meal or corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, as it's a super easy-to-prepare meal, that you can't goof up even if you try.  All you need to do is throw the ingredients into your crock pot, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 10 hours.  Start your evening meal before you leave for work, and when you come home, you'll be greeted with the heavenly aroma of cooked corned beef.

Special tools:  Large crock pot, about 6 quarts, but a stock pot will work
Preparation time:  About 5 minutes
Cooking time:  About 10 hours on low heat, plus 1-1/2 hours for the cabbage
Yield:  6 to 8 servings

1 corned beef brisket, about 2 pounds
6 to 8 medium red potatoes, washed and quartered; do not substitute other varieties
1 pound baby carrots
1 head cabbage
Salt, pepper and oregano to taste

Wash potatoes, and remove any "eyes" or soft spots.  Quarter and set aside.  

Place corned beef brisket in crock pot.  If you don't have a crock pot, a stock pot may be used to cook the beef. Sprinkle the corned beef with the small package of seasoning that comes with the meat, add the potatoes and carrots.  Depending upon the size of your crock pot, you may not be able to fit in all of the potatoes and carrots. Add water to fill crock pot up almost to the brim.  Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for about 10 hours.

Left:  Corned beef, red potatoes and baby carrots are cooking in the crock pot, just before they're done.  Right: Sharlene removes cooked potatoes and baby carrots from the crock pot.  Note the thick broth remaining in the crock pot.

Just before meat, potatoes and carrots are done, slice cabbage into small pieces, discarding the coarse outer leaves, the core, and any leaves that contain brown spots.  Remove meat, potatoes and carrots from crock pot and transfer potatoes and carrots to large bowel, and slab of meat to a cutting board. Place diced cabbage in crock pot, increase heat to high, cover, and cook for about an hour and a half.  

Remove any remaining fat from meat with sharp knife.  Cut meat into bite-sized pieces.  Return meat to potato and carrot bowl.

When cabbage is finished, remove from pot and reserve remaining liquid.

Serve meat, potatoes and carrots together, with diced cabbage on the side.  Spoon pot juices over all ingredients. If desired, sprinkle with salt, pepper and orgegano.  Enjoy!

If you find that you have any leftover pot juice, don't throw it away, as it can be the base for a good soup, gravy, or another meat dish.

Left:  Sharlene shows us the proper way to cut cabbage.  Right:  Here's a meal to-die-for, with the meat and all of the side dishes bathed in juice from the crock pot.  It doesn't get any better than this...

If you have a crock pot, you couldn't find a meal that's easier to make, and a meal that will put a smile on everybody's face.  This dish is a real favorite with our family.

One final note is that we prefer to use red potatoes, as they tend to hold together better during the long, slow cooking process than other potatoes.  Russet potatoes, which are common as baked potatoes, tend to fall apart, which is great if you're making a soup or chowder, but not-so-good for our corned beef dinner.  However, nothing is etched in stone, so you can use whatever variety of potato you have on hand, but your results will vary widely.

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