Sunday, March 9, 2014

Awesome Corned Beef and Cabbage. . .

. . . Slow Cooker Recipe with Apple Juice and Beer,

AND Finished with Apricot Mustard Glaze

Core Ingredients for the Crock Pot

I supposed I could have put all of that in the post title but I don't think it would fit, so "Awesome" to draw you in will have to work.


Cooking in a slow cooker is obviously used in most recipes to cook a recipe over a long period of time with a little less effort. Truly, because of timing on a Sunday filled with errands (including going to get the Corned Beef), I didn't start this until early afternoon so I cooked the dish on high. Truthfully, because I glaze the corned beef after cooking, I guess that there is a little more effort and work but I think it's worth it. To be completely honest, I have never cooked the corned beef in a pot per the directions on the package because I think it tastes so good and is so soft and tender when you make it in the crock pot.


I have referred to a lot of recipes over the years to complete the crock pot portion of cooking, using bits of this one or that one to come up with my own version of slow cooker corned beef. Two of my inspirations over the years have been  the Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef at Southern Food as well as Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner for the Slow Cooker at Recipes. I like portions of both recipes but there were things that I wanted to add to make it even better and some timing considerations. I really like the use of apple juice rather than water and by adding a bottle of beer, I think it's even better. The first recipe had a lot of juice with I liked and the cabbage was cut into chunks to cook with the corned beef so it got very soft. However, I did not like the addition of mustard in the crock pot and thought the brown sugar made it too sweet without it. The second recipe calls for you to remove the corned beef and keep it warm, then add the wedges of cabbage to the crock pot at the very end. I found that the cabbage did not cook enough a couple years back with this method. That recipe also did not have an onion and the apple juice was diluted with water.

To start, I prepared all of my vegetables. I cut the large white onion into eighths that naturally fell apart. The small redskin potatoes were quartered and I also cut up a small head of cabbage after peeling back a couple of outside layers. The carrots. . . well, I cheated with the carrots. Trader Joe's has carrots already washed, peeled and cut so I could not resist. Typically I use baby carrots because it avoids all that work but I think that the larger carrots are sometimes tastier and won't be as mushy after being cooked.

Layered vegetables, add the corned beef, and then the seasoning and liquids.

After preparing the vegetables, I placed them in the crock pot. Potatoes and onions went on the very bottom, followed by carrots and then topped with cabbage. I then placed the corned beef down on the bed of vegetables and wedged more cabbage around it. I sprinkled about half of the enclosed seasoning packet on top of the corned beef and then added a bottle of beer. I then filled the rest of the crock pot with apple juice until it reached the top. I placed the lid on top, trying to get a good fit, and then set the timer for five hours on high.

Now this is the challenging part. . . not opening the lid! I recently read an article where removing the lid during cooking was one of the pitfalls in slow cooker cooking. I believe that they actually stated that every time you lift the lid you are adding an extra half hour to the cooking time. So today I demonstrated restraint - which is difficult for me - and did not peek, stir, sniff or add anything once I put that lid on.


So five hours later. . . 

Five Hours on High Heat - No peeking!
I really did let the food go without touching it once in the five hours! I am really proud of myself - I need to add that. This is what the dish looked like when I lifted the lid for the first time.

Glaze Ingredients
I removed the corned beef and put it in a pan lined with heavy duty foil and let it rest for a few minutes while I prepared the glaze to finish the meat up.

In a small bowl, I combined the Apricot Preserves, Rice Wine Vinegar, and the Dijon Mustard. I add a little of the vinegar to add some tartness but also to make it easier to mix.

I then spooned the glaze on the corned beef and placed the pan in a preheated oven at 375 degrees. I watched it carefully to ensure it didn't burn and basted the glaze on to the corned beef every five minutes or so. Total time in the oven was about 15 minutes.

Glazed Corned Beef

I let it cool a bit so the glaze would harden and then served it with the vegetables still warm in the crock pot.

Awesome Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Slow Cooker

1 Package of Corned Beef with Seasoning Packet (I used Sy Ginsburg)
1 Small Head of Green Cabbage, cut into chunks
2 lbs Small Redskin Potatoes, quartered
1 Large Yellow Onion, cut into eights
2 Cups Carrots, peeled and cut into sections
1 Bottle of Beer
3 Cups of Apple Juice

1 Cup Apricot Preserves
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar



Line bottom of the crock pot with the potatoes and onions, layer with carrots and then top with cabbage. Add corned beef, fat side down. Sprinkle with about half of the seasoning packet. Add the bottle of beer and then the apple juice until you reach the top. Place lid on top and cook for 4-5 hours on high, or alternately on low for about 10 hours.

Remove corned beef from crock pot and place in a lined pan and let it rest for about five minutes. Combine the glaze ingredients and spoon over the meat. Place in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes, basting every five minutes or so. Let cool before slicing. Plate with crock pot vegetables that are removed from the pot with a slotted spoon.




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