Cooking On A Budget: Corned Beef and Cabbage

Friday, February 1, 2013

Corned Beef and Cabbage

We think of this dinner mainly on St. Patrick's Day, however in our home we enjoy it throughout the year as our budget allows.

While corned beef and cabbage may be a dish with roots in Ireland, it is thoroughly a meal which I, of Polish and Scotch-English heritage enjoy immensely. And like turkey on Thanksgiving I savor it more than one day per year, especially if I can get it on sale.

I spent many years boiling the brisket and trying to adjust the heat under the pot just right so it wouldn't toughen on me. That was a nuisance. Finally in 2013 I decided to try making it in my crock pot and ever since have not fussed with it on the stove top. The crock pot does a beautiful job. So get it started first thing in the morning before you head out to work and when you arrive home the meat is all done.

That being said, I boil the cabbage, potatoes and carrots in a separate pot. If you cut the vegetables to similar sizes everything cooks together nicely in the one pot. And, if you prep the vegetables ahead you probably are looking at 45 minutes to an hour tops and the whole dinner will be ready to serve.

  • 3 - 3 1/4 lb. corned beef brisket - point cut (or flat cut - your choice)
  • water to cover the beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns (about)
  • 4-6 small bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • or use seasoning packet inside the brisket
  1. Place all of the ingredients in the crock pot or slow cooker.
  2. If you are heading out to work set it to low and it will be ready when you come home.
  3. If you are staying at home, set to high and cook for about 4 - 4 1/2 hours. Turn the heat off and let it rest in the warm liquid while the vegetables are cooking.
  4. When you cut the brisket, make sure you cut against the grain to get tender meat.

This is what I wrote in the post back in 2013 for cost and I wanted to see how it compared to what I spent yesterday (3/12/2015) at the store: "Basically a very simple dish, but what a wonderful one to have on a very cold winter day like we are experiencing here in Connecticut, U.S.A. I spent $15.22 for the point cut brisket, $.97 for the cabbage and between the potatoes and carrots I would add $1.80. There's enough to comfortably serve six portions for $2.99 each."

2015 Costs: Our 2 1/2 lb. brisket cost me $11.03 after using an in-store coupon for $4.00 off and was enough for 3 good sized portions. I suggest 3 pounds to adequately serve four people. My total cost two years later was $14.97, feeding four for $3.71. There's no getting around the rising cost at the grocery store. One thing that will help you is getting on sale meat and potatoes to bring the cost down.

Corned beef doesn't go on sale often, but when it does be sure to check out whether this delicious protein fits into your grocery budget and pick one up. It has incredible flavor and it's unlike any of the other proteins that we tend to cook with in our kitchens. In other words, don't wait for St. Patrick's Day to enjoy this meal.

I bought Savoy Cabbage because I adore the flavor and texture. The head I purchased was more than enough for two people, so I broke off some leaves for making a stuffed cabbage dish and I saved a smaller section in hopes I might use it in another recipe. So that 85 cents was well spent!

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