Corned Beef and Cabbage

Name: Barbara Schmidt
Class Year: 1969
Country of Residence: Ireland

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Corned beef is also called “salt” beef which is prepared by rubbing the beef with coarse salt and brown sugar and marinating for a week or longer. The leanest cut is called silverside or tail end, brisket is a mixture of fat and lean. In Ireland this beef can be bought pre-prepared in a butcher’s or in a supermarket. The dry mustard makes the beef really tender – I use it with boiling ham as well.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Serves 4-6. Takes approx. 4 hours


For Corned Beef:  4 lb corned beef, 1 large carrot cut into chunks, 2 large onions cut in half, 6 cloves, 1 tsp. dry mustard powder, sprig of thyme and sprig of parsley, black pepper, cold water.

For Cabbage: one head of cabbage white, savoy or other, good nob of butter (30 g), one onion (or lots of scallions) salt, pepper, lemon juice, other seasonings. (Jane’s Krazy Salt). 

For Sauce:  2 tbls (1 ounce) butter, ½ tsp onion salt, dash of pepper, dash of white wine, ½ cup sour cream (or crème fraiche or Greek yogurt), 1 tbls of chopped chives or to taste.  Maybe double this recipe for 4 pounds of corned beef.


Corned Beef:  Put the meat into a large saucepan with all the ingredients.  (stick cloves into the onion halves.) Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.  Skim off any scum.  Cover and simmer very gently for 45 minutes per pound plus 30 minutes.  Rest a couple of minutes. Remove from liquid, drain and slice across the grain.  (approx. 30 mins to boil + 3.5 hours.)

Serve with mustard and / or chive sauce, cabbage and boiled or mashed potatoes.


The traditional way to cook this was to quarter a savoy or white cabbage and cook for about the last hour with the corned beef.  I find this was is better (and less smelly).

Cut skinned onion in half from stem to top and slice thinly. Melt butter over low / medium heat in heavy-bottomed pan.  Soften the thin slices of onion – about 8  – 10 minutes. Don’t let the onions brown.

Remove centre stalk and any coarse stems from the leaves of the cabbage.  Slice the cabbage leaves into ribbons about ½ inch thick.

Add the ribbons of cabbage and seasoning and a squeeze of lemon  juice to the butter and softened onions and stir until mixed.  Put lid on pot and cook on low / medium heat stirring occasionally until the cabbage is al dente or to preference.  (sort of stir-fry/ steam/braise).  About 10 minutes or so depending on how much cabbage you have.  Don’t overcook unless you like soggy cabbage.

Chive Sauce:

Melt butter over low heat or in a microwave.  Whisk in other ingredients and heat through, whisking occasionally.  Don’t boil.  This sauce is good over the cabbage, the potatoes and the corned beef.  (It is also good over fish using dill instead of chives.  Could also use parsley.)


Corned Beef from “A Taste of Ireland” by Theodora Fitzgibbon, c. 1968

Sauce adapted from “The Guaranteed Goof-Proof Micorwave Cookbook”, Margie Kreschollek, c. 1988

Cabbage I made up myself.

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