Ready for the BEST corned beef and cabbage recipe? Braising and steaming, instead of boiling, leads to flavorful and firm vegetables that are the perfect accompaniment to briny corned beef! And ready in less than 30 minutes!
In my last post on corned beef, you learned how to make the best homemade brine. Cooking homemade is a several days process, but well worth it.
Now that you’ve learned how to make your own corned beef, I’ll show you a simple twist for making the traditional vegetables that go best alongside corned beef; cabbage and potatoes.
Why this recipe works
Many standard corned beef and cabbage recipes call for boiling the vegetables in the cooking brine. Not a bad method at all, but it can often yield unreliable results. Often you wind up with a delicious corned beef, served alongside over-boiled cabbage and water-logged potatoes.
This recipe is different in that it requires a quick sear of the cabbage, and then finishes cooking by braising. Searing in a bit of oil first creates that beautiful browned sauté. Braising in a bit of the corned beef cooking liquid then helps to tenderize the fibrous vegetable through low, slow cooking.
Steaming the potatoes and carrots creates perfectly tender vegetables that are not soggy or mushy.
- Green cabbage – I recommending slicing it into thick steaks to create a beautiful presentation that is also easy to serve
- Baby potatoes – definitely go with a waxier type of potato, like baby reds or golden potatoes. No need to peel or cut in half.
- Carrots are optional, but my mom always threw them in. Use standard peeled carrots cut into large 1″-2″ chunks.
Step 1 – Begin by prepping your vegetables. Scrub potatoes, peel and cut up carrots into large chunks, and slice cabbage into thick steak-like pieces.
Step 2 – Sauté and braise the cabbage. Heat about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage steaks and cook till slightly brown, and then flip and sauté on the other side. You may have to work in batches.
Once both sides are sautéed, add about 2 cups of strained corned beef cooking liquid to the pan, and cover. Cook on medium-low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, until cabbage is fork tender.
Step 3 – While your cabbage is cooking, arrange a steamer basket over water in a medium sauce pan. Add your potatoes and carrots, and cover with a lid. Cook on medium until vegetables are fork tender all the way through, approximately 20 minutes.
Cooking time will depend on the size of your potatoes. Increase cooking time as needed, but begin checking at the 20 minute mark.
Braising is a great cooking method for tough cuts of meat and fibrous vegetables. You simmer the meat or veggie in a small amount of liquid in a covered pot to concentrate and enhance the flavors. It also works wonders at tenderizing whatever you’re cooking.
No problem at all! Simply add 2 cups of chicken or beef broth. In a pinch you could use water, but it won’t yield as flavorful vegetables.
This method for cooking vegetables is wonderful any time of year, alongside any type of main dish protein. Serve alongside a roasted chicken, any type of steak or breaded pork chops.
Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. To reheat, place in a microwave safe dish and cook till heated through.
The recipe calls for 2 cups of braising liquid, but adjust accordingly to the size of your cabbage. You want enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan and allow the vegetables to be slightly submerged. But the cabbage should not be drowning in liquid.
If you have a particularly large or small cabbage, or are just making ½ cabbage, adjust the liquid accordingly.
The Best Corned Beef & Cabbage
- 1 small head of cabbage cut into thick steak-like slices
- 4 medium carrots peeled & cut into large chunks
- 1.5 lbs small-medium potatoes waxy, red and white preferred
- 2 cups corned beef cooking liquid use chicken or beef broth if you don't have corned beef cooking liquid
- Wash and cut vegetables. Add potatoes and carrots to a steaming basket set in a medium stock pot, filled with enough water to just touch the steaming basket. Cover and steam on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, till fork tender.
- While the potatoes and carrots are steaming, heat up 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute each side of the cabbage steaks until lightly browned. Add the cooking liquid, cover and cook on medium low for about 10 minutes. Cabbage should be fork tender but not soft or mushy.
- Plate sliced corned beef, and arrange cabbage, potatoes and carrots on the platter. Serve with horseradish, whole grain mustard and Irish butter.