Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Montana Food Photographer
Recipes,  Savory,  Seasonal,  Spring

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Honey Carrots and Savory Bacon Mash

Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Montana Food Photographer
Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Local Kitchen Witch
Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Local Kitchen Witch
Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Local Kitchen Witch

The sun is shining and it’s almost forty degrees! My heart is singing. There still snow on the ground, but I wanted at least a hint of spring while I write this post. St.Patrick’s Day has always been a marker of more tolerable weather for me. In fact, that’s really all I liked about the holiday until recently.

Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Local Kitchen Witch

Truth time: I’ve never been a fan of corned beef. Something about it just didn’t taste like meat to me. But it definitely didn’t taste like a plant either. It messed with my stomach. Turns out, most of the packaged, pre-brined corned beef you can buy has been curing in that pickle juice for a loooooong time. And some people just love what it does to the flavor and texture (and color), but I do not. So I set out this year to make a corned beef that I’d actually like, and this was a battle of recipe testing that I won. The trick is two things: a short, mild cure; and a few extra ingredients in the cooking liquid.

The problem turned out to be that the long curing process alters the texture in a way that I don’t love. And to make it worse, corned beef is typically boiled in plain water, meaning the only flavor it has is from that cure. Bleh. So I shortened the brine time, mixed up the pickling spices, and added some fresh ingredients to the cooking liquid. But I wasn’t quite there yet. The flavor was still too… bright? If that makes sense. So I thought to myself what and Irish person would do, and I added a bottle of Guinness.

I struck gold, y’all.

Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Montana Food Photographer
Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Montana Food Photographer
Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Montana Food Photographer

This corned beef hits the nail right on the head for me. It’s got that classic tangy finish, but there’s significantly more depth of flavor and the texture, well, it actually feels like meat. There are some nuances to creating it, though. Which is why I made a {very high quality} video to show you the process. I also decided it’s probably best to make videos for all of my posts with a multiple-recipe-meal, so that you can see how to time everything out in order to have each dish ready and hot at dinner time.

The video is fairly long, but the first 10-ish minutes are devoted to the curing process for the corned beef, and the second half is side dishes (and a bonus recipe for roasted garlic mustard which is sent directly from the gods).

Corned Beef and Cabbage from Boiled Wheat Blog by Kristen McSorley, Local Kitchen Witch

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Honey Carrots and Savory Bacon Mash


For the Corned Beef:

1 recipe pickling spice (below), 2 T reserved
1 1/2 c. meat cure mixture
1/2 c. sugar
3 quarts water
1 5lb brisket

3 quarts water
remaining pickling spice
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 bottle or can of Guinness Extra Stout (not sponsored)
salt to taste


Place the pickling spice (except 2 tablespoons) in a large pot with sugar, meat cure mixture, and water. Bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar and salt, then let cool completely.

When solution is cooled, add it to a large container or oven bag with brisket and keep submerged using a plate or weights. Place in the refrigerator and let cure for 48 hours, turning occasionally.

When ready to cook, drain curing liquid and rinse brisket. Place cured brisket in a large pot and add water, reserved pickling spice, carrots, celery, and Guinness. Bring to medium-high heat and let simmer for 45-55 minutes per pound. Add water as needed. Taste 3/4 of the way through cooking and adjust salt as needed.


For the Cabbage:

1 large head green cabbage
1/4 c. butter
scant teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste
1/2 t. fennel seeds


Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice cabbage head into wedges (about eight), and place on a baking tray. In a small bowl, melt butter and add garlic powder and salt. Use a pastry brush to create an even layer of the butter mixture on both sides of each cabbage wedge. Sprinkle with fennel seeds. Roast 25-30 minutes or until outer leaves are browned and inner leaves are tender. Serve hot.


For the Honey Carrots:

1-2 lbs table carrots, peeled and washed
1/4 c. butter
1 T honey
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. grated nutmeg
salt to taste


Preheat oven to 400 F. Place carrots on a baking tray, not touching. In a small bowl, melt butter and honey, then add salt to taste. Brush butter mixture onto carrots, being sure to go over all sides. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, then roast about 35 minutes or until browned and very tender. Serve hot.


For the Savory Bacon Mash:

3 lbs red potatoes
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. heavy cream (or sour cream for a lighter version)
1 t. garlic powder
approx 1 c. green onions, chopped finely
1 c. cooked bacon, crumbled
salt to taste


Wash potatoes and chop into 1/2 in. cubes, peels on. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let cook on a high simmer until extremely tender. Drain water and add butter. When butter begins to melt, add garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt, then mash to desired consistency. Add green onions and bacon, then taste and adjust salt as needed. Stir to combine, and serve hot.


Pickling Spice for Corned Beef


1 t. coriander seeds (rounded teaspoon, goes for all ingredients except ginger, cinnamon, and bay leaves)
cinnamon stick
1 t. mustard seeds
1 t. peppercorns
a 1 in. knob of ginger, washed
1 t. whole cloves
1 t. allspice berries
5 bay leaves
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. juniper berries



Add coriander, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, and allspice berries to a skillet, then bring to heat until seeds being to pop. Remove from heat and let cool. If storing for future use, add remaining ingredients now (do not use fresh ginger), then seal in a container. If using immediately, take toasted spices and use a mortar and pestle to crush slightly. Add remaining ingredients and use in curing brine.

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