Make Ahead

Corned Beef & Cabbage From Suzanne Goin

March 15, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This California twist on the corned beef and cabbage feast is untraditional in all the right places—and almost as easy as the old school dump-in-the-Crock-Pot approach, with a few brilliant tweaks. Goin divorces the vegetables from the meat so they're free to cook in their own time. In an exciting twist, she also throws the beef in the oven to brown and crisp up a bit at the end. Finally, she gives it just what any salty, long-cooked broth craves: a sauce that vibrates with life. Recipe adapted very slightly from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin with Teri Gelber (Knopf, 2005). —Genius Recipes

Test Kitchen Notes

"My family is very Irish and celebrates St. Patrick's Day ever year," says Assistant Lifestyle Editor Caroline Mullen. "My aunt used to make chicken nuggets for the kids because the menu at that function was awful. Boiled potatoes? No thanks. Irish corned beef and cabbage was the centerpiece, of course. But actually, now I love both!"

"Both the corned beef and the boiled potatoes?" I asked.

"No," she said, "the corned beef and the chicken nuggets."

What I love most about this Genius corned beef and cabbage recipe is that it really refreshes an old classic. And some, like Caroline, would argue that a dish this old needs it. Indeed, according to Smithsonian Magazine, Irish corned beef—a St. Patrick's Day mainstay—has been around since the 17th century, though there is an earlier reference to beef that's preserved (not necessarily with salt but with a byproduct of burnt seaweed called sea ash) in a 12th-century poem called Aislinge Meic Con Glinne:

Corned Beef, my son,
Whose mantle shines
Over a big tail.

This corned beef and cabbage finds new life in its method (each vegetable added at different intervals to ensure even cooking and zero mushage), as well as in the vibrant, vinegary parsley-mustard sauce, which Genius Recipes columnist Kristen Miglore relates to chimichurri or salsa verde. "It's so much more lively in flavor and texture than what you typically get for St. Patrick's Day," Kristen tells me, eight years after this recipe's publication date. "But it's still just as comforting." —Eric Kim

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 6 hours
  • Serves 6, with leftovers
  • Corned beef and cabbage
  • 1 6-pound corned-beef brisket
  • 2 onions
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 2 chiles de arbol
  • 6 small carrots
  • 9 turnips the size of golf balls
  • 1 1/4 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • Parsley-mustard sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallots, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 lemon, for juicing
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Corned beef and cabbage
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  3. Place the corned beef in a large deep pot and cover with cold water by 6 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Cut the onions in half lengthwise, peel them, and poke one clove into each half.
  5. When the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add the onions, bay leaves, thyme, and chiles. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid.
  6. Cook the corned beef in the oven 4 to 4 1/2 hours, until it's fork-tender. (Carefully remove the foil and pierce the meat with a fork. If the fork doesn't penetrate easily, the corned beef is not ready.)
  7. While the beef is cooking, peel the carrots, leaving 1/2 inch of stem. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise. Trim the turnip tops, leaving 1/2 inch of stem attached. Cut the turnips in half through the stems. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage and slice it in half through the core. Cut each cabbage half into three wedges, leaving the core intact to hold the leaves together.
  8. When it's done, remove the meat from the oven, let it cool a few minutes, and transfer it to a baking sheet.
  9. Turn the oven up to 375°F.
  10. Return the meat to the oven for about 15 minutes, until it browns and crisps on top. If it's not browning to your liking, you can pass it under the broiler. Let the corned beef rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing it.
  11. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the broth. (There probably won't be very much.) Taste the broth. If it tastes good—not too salty but nicely seasoned and meaty—set half of the liquid aside in a medium saucepan. If the broth is salty, add a little water before setting half of it aside.
  12. Add water to the broth in the large corned-beef cooking pot until you have enough liquid to poach the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium, and add the potatoes to the pot. Simmer 5 minutes and then add the cabbage, turnips, and carrots. (If your pot is not big enough, divide the broth into two pots, adding more water if needed.) Simmer over low heat 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. Test each type of vegetable occasionally, and if one is ready before the others, use tongs or a slotted spoon to take the vegetables out of the broth.
  13. Taste the reserved broth and the vegetable-cooking broth. Combine them to your taste. If the vegetable broth tastes best, use it for the finished broth. If the vegetable broth is watery but has good flavor, add a little of it to the reserved broth, to your liking. Or, if you like the meat broth best, use it by itself.
  14. Place the cabbage on a large warm platter. Slice the corned beef against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the meat over the cabbage. Scatter the other vegetables over and around the platter. Pour over a good quantity of your chosen broth, and drizzle with the parsley-mustard sauce. Pass the extra broth and sauce at the table.
  1. Parsley-mustard sauce
  2. Place the shallots, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl, and let sit 5 minutes. Pound the parsley with a mortar and pestle and add it to the shallots. Whisk in the mustard and olive oil, and season with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of pepper and a pinch more salt, if you like. Be careful not to overseason, since the corned beef may be on the salty side.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.