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Corned Beef sans Cabbage

March 18, 2015

By Kath Dedon


Corned Beef is traditionally served in many American homes on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve thought about trying something else, like Irish stew or even salmon, to celebrate the feast but it just doesn’t seem right not to have Corned Beef.

I’ve always used my slow cooker to make it, but this year I made a wee change. I was intrigued by the recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition. I had always used just water, but they replaced half the water with chicken broth. I wondered if that could make a difference. Trusting all the research that ATK does I decided to try that this year.

I thought the difference was very subtle but positive. I think the added broth gave a bit more depth of flavor to the vegetables without tasting like chicken broth.

I also loved the idea of using whole small potatoes. (Why didn’t I think of that?) They used small red potatoes. I went with Yukon Gold because it is my favorite potato. Either way, the presentation is much better if you use small potatoes instead of cutting up larger ones.

There’s only one thing I might do differently. Next time I might cook the cabbage. It’s a last minute step that I completely forgot. But we nonetheless had a great St. Patrick’s Day feast complete with Southern Corn Bread (which turns out to be a great gluten/wheat-free alternative to Irish Soda Bread) served with Kerrygold butter and 3 kinds of local honey.

Who could blame me for forgetting the cabbage? We had the fun surprise of having an Irish American friend from the East Coast join us for dinner. And she brought her button accordion! It was incredibly fun to hear the accordion and to sing old Irish ballads with her. We were all so glad you could come, Mary Kate! 🙂

Truth be told, the cooked cabbage is my least favorite part of the dinner, and not one person said, “Where’s the cabbage?” Maybe we have a new tradition – Corned Beef sans Cabbage.


Photo by Laura

Corned Beef


Corned Beef sans Cabbage

(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2)


(print the recipe)


Serves 6 – 8 (Serves up to 8 if you have a 4-pound corned beef)


Note: You need a large slow cooker for this recipe. America’s Test Kitchen suggests a 6½ – 7 quart cooker. Mine is a 6 quart cooker and everything fit, but barely.


1 (3 – 4 pound) corned beef brisket, fat trimmed to ¼ inch

1 can reduced sodium chicken broth (I used Swanson’s Natural Goodness)

About 2¼ cups of water

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1½ pounds small potatoes (cut in half if larger than 1 to 2 inches in diameter)

1½ pounds carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise if large, and cut into 3-inch lengths



1. Place the corned beef with its pickling spices in the slow cooker.

Corned Beef and pickling spices


2. Put the potatoes in.

 I cut the larger potatoes in half.

Potatoes added


3. Add the carrots.

 Carrots added


4. Pour the chicken broth into a 4 cup measuring cup. Add water to make 4 cups.

5. Sprinkle the thyme over the carrots, and then pour the broth over everything.

Corned beef ready to cook


6. Cook on Low for 9 – 10 hours. (I cooked mine for 10 hours.)

10 hours set


7. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Remove the corned beef and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Let the corned beef rest for 15 minutes. Return the vegetables to the slow cooker set on Warm.

(This would be the time to remove some of the broth to a large skillet to braise cabbage wedges for 10 – 15 minutes if you want cabbage.)


8. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with the potatoes and carrots.


Photo by Laura, resized by Kath

Corned Beef 2


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