Updated: Feb 11
The last thing we need more of in our bodies are nitrates! This is a preservative that can be added to cured meats such as bacon, hot dogs, sliced deli meats, and yes, you guessed it, corned beef. It helps keep the product fresh or even shelf stable.
Not all nitrates are bad, though. They can occur naturally from celery and sea salt, but we don't need to be consuming it if it's not naturally occurring.
If nitrates are an ingredient you're looking to avoid, try this recipe for corned beef and cabbage that you can make yourself!
In order to "cure" our meat, we need to soak it in a brine. This liquid mixture gives it the flavor and texture of corned beef.
1 gallon water
1 1/2 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup palm sugar or honey
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp peppercorns
1 Tbsp juniper berries
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp allspice
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
Combine all the ingredients except the brisket in a pot and place over medium heat until the salt has dissolved. Bring the brine to room temperature.
Place the brisket into the brine and place a plate or two over the meat so it is completely submerged by the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 4 days.
Day of cooking ingredients:
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage
4-5 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1 bottle of beer - I used a stout
2 cups beef stock
2 tsp salt
When you are ready to cook, rinse brisket well to remove the excess salt.
Place the brisket in a slow cooker and cover with your favorite bottle of beer. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours until fork tender.
In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add chopped cabbage.
Once the cabbage is tender, you can remove and saute in a light coating of butter if desired.
Enjoy this traditional St. Patty's Day meal knowing you're feeding your family nutritious food you can trust!
Fun Fact: For those of you wondering why it's called "corned" beef when there isn't any corn at all! Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with large-grained rock salt, also called "corns" of salt.