Beer Braised Corned Beef & Cabbage

Though St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, and we know that I got down 'n dirty with some Irish-themed goods, I'm still sharing my recipe for Beer Braised Corned Beef & Cabbage. Shaun and I (and this dish is mostly Shaun's doing) didn't get to making our corned beef until a week or so post-St. P's. While a little late, I'm getting it in just in the nik of time before the end of March. After all, while food shopping on Sunday, I noticed an abundance of corned beef packages in the meat case so it's not too late to get your corned beef fix.

Anyhow, this recipe seriously turns up the flavor on an old classic. I am typically not a huge fan of corned beef...I mean, I'll eat it, but I don't necessarily jump at the chance. Shaun, on the other hand, could not disagree more. So the compromise? Corned beef with a few adjustments, making this a meal that both traditionalists and new-age corned beef afficianados could enjoy. Just the simple changes of using the slow cooker and braising the meat in amber ale made a world of difference on this Irish favorite. And though Shaun said, "It's not real corned beef...you just don't cook corned beef in beer," once this hunk o'meat came out of the slow cooker and we dug right in...well, I think I may have changed his mind...just a bit. Let's get down to it...

Beer Braised Corned Beef & Cabbage
1 3lb. piece corned beef
1 lb. carrots (cut up, or use the baby kind)
2 bottles Budweiser Amber Ale
8 red bliss potatoes (or more, depending on how tatery you like it)
1 head cabbage, outside leaves peeled and the rest sliced
Dried onion flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Dijon or deli mustard

Open corned beef package and drain excess liquid into sink. Place corned beef in slow cooker with fat side up. Rub meat with some freshly ground black pepper and dried onions (optional). Note: Corned beef is naturally salty, so Shaun didn't add any extra salt. You can however, add the spice packet that may or may not come with the meat (ours didn't come with one). Pour 2 bottles Budweiser Amber Ale over the meat. Cook on low for 5-7 hours (the beauty of a slow cooker is that you can't really overcook the meat). Half or quarter red bliss potatoes and submerge in the liquid along with carrots. Cook for 45 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, add cabbage and cook 10 minutes more. Serve altogether on a big platter with Dijon or deli mustard for dipping and get ready for your predisposed thoughts on corned beef to go right out the window.

So there you have it...a traditional Irish dish with the flavor turned way up. What do you think? Are you a corned beef purist? Do you eat corned beef outside of the obligatory March festivities?