I’m not kidding when I tell you this is the best corned beef and cabbage recipe. I believe I’ve prepared corned beef and cabbage half a dozen different ways and this, by far, is the best method.
I know you’ll be surprised… but I don’t use Guinness. GAH! I know. It’s sad. But the problem with using a stout beer like Guinness or a dark porter is that it can make the entire recipe taste bitter. I’ve used Guinness Draught instead and although it’s tasty, still a bit too much bitterness for me. If you love a traditional corned beef and cabbage, but not the bitterness of strong beer, try using an IPA.
Beer is an excellent braising liquid for beef or pork. Not only does it keep the meat moist while cooking, it imparts a hint of flavor to the meat, complimenting the overall dish.
However, the type of beer is key. Most IPA (India Pale Ale) Beer is flavorful but some IPA’s can be on the bitter side so I’d recommend an IPA with a lower IBU on the bitterness scale.
I previously used a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA and one of my favorite IPA’s to use for this dish is, Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA – both giving subtle hints of complimentary flavor but not overwhelming the dish with bitterness or the heavy taste of beer.
Another key is to rinse, dry and brown your corned beef before cooking. The browning process deepens flavor, especially when slow braising a large piece of meat in liquid. I like my cabbage slightly tender but not completely wilted, so I throw it in at the last-minute and only simmer just until tender but not falling apart.
Sometimes I toss fingerlings or small new potatoes into the pot and sometimes I serve the corned beef and cabbage with mashed potatoes; depending on how I’m feeling at the moment (or what I might have on hand in the pantry).
Despite tradition, I never add carrots to the pot. This is totally my personal food quirk (I have several unfortunately) but carrots contain a lot of sugar and when added to soups, stews or braised meat recipes, they add a slight sweetness to the dish. For me, that sweetness doesn’t always compliment the other ingredients and often changes the intended flavor profile. Instead, I roast the carrots and add them as a side dish to the corned beef and cabbage. It adds a burst of color and a little caramelized sweetness to the meal, but not to the meat.
A traditional corned beef and cabbage wouldn’t be complete without a little Irish Soda Bread to compliment the dish and soak up all the delicious juices. I make a traditional Irish Soda Bread with currants but I’m really loving this Mini Irish Soda Bread from my friend Caroline over at Taste, Love and Nourish. She’s also got a Cranberry Orange Soda Bread and a Vegan Cherry Almond Soda Bread. All so fantastic for your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration!
If you decide to make this recipe, keep me posted! Let me know how you like it. 🙂 Or if you have a question, feel free to send me an email.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
- 3 ½ - 4lbs good quality, flat cut corned beef
- 1 (12ounce) bottle of IPA Beer (preferably one with a lower IBU)
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 head green cabbage, quartered
- 1-1½ lbs. baby red potatoes, fingerlings or small new potatoes, washed
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish