Approximately 34 percent of Americans make a special meal on St. Patrick's Day, and by far the most popular choice -- although it isn't authentically Irish -- is corned beef. Traditional corned beef recipes call for boiling the meat in a large stock pot along with vegetables like carrots, potatoes and cabbage. The editors at America's Test Kitchen, however, say cooking the meat and vegetables separately allows you to better control the finished texture of each ingredient. Corned beef prepared in a slow cooker yields firmer slices than boiled corned beef. Be aware that corned beef is high in sodium, fat and saturated fat. To fit it into a healthy, balanced diet, eat corned beef only occasionally and in moderation.
Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove the corned beef from the packaging, reserving any accumulated juices and the enclosed seasoning packet. Use a sharp knife to remove any visible fat from the surface of the meat.
Place the corned beef inside the slow cooker. Pour the reserved liquid over the meat. Sprinkle the contents of the seasoning packet on the surface of the beef.
Allow the corned beef to cook on the low setting for eight to 10 hours, or until the meat is easily pierced with a fork.
Remove the corned beef from the slow cooker and place it on a clean cutting board. Tent the beef with aluminum foil and let it sit, undisturbed, for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Things You'll Need
6-quart slow cooker
Nonstick cooking spray
Packaged corned beef
If you prefer, you can use your own combination of seasonings on the corned beef instead of those provided in the package. Cookbook author Stephanie O'Dea suggests coating the surface of the meat with a mixture of Dijon mustard, honey and brown sugar.
To cook the corned beef along with potatoes, carrots and cabbage, cut the vegetables into chunks or wedges and place them around the meat in the slow cooker before cooking. For additional flavor, you can add water, broth or beer.
A 3-ounce serving of cooked corned beef contains 16 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat and over 800 milligrams of sodium. For the average adult on a 2,000-calorie diet, this is 33 percent of one day's recommended saturated fat limit and about 36 percent of the sodium intake advised per day. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, consider eating smaller portions of corned beef or substituting an uncured, fresh beef brisket instead, which contains far less fat and sodium per serving.
- History.com: St. Patrick's Day by the Numbers
- Smithsonian.com: Is Corned Beef Really Irish?
- Stephanie O'Dea: Dijon Corned Beef in the Slow Cooker
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Basic Report - 13347, Beef, Cured, Corned Beef, Brisket, Cooked
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Basic Report - 13343, Beef, Brisket, Flat Half, Separable Lean Only, Trimmed to 0" Fat, Choice, Cooked, Braised