With the colder months upon us our slow cooker has been dusted off and warmed up for the winter. And there’s nothing that quite says ‘winter’ (apart from my Chunky Chicken Soup) than slow cooker corned beef. Actually truth-be-known corned beef is a great all-year-round dish, but I especially love it in winter with a cheesy white sauce.
The key with slow cooking corned beef is to actually….um…. slow cook it. Don’t be tempted to put your cooker on high to get it cooked quicker, you’re likely to make your meat tough. If you put your corned beef on in the morning and leave it cook all day on low then cool slightly in the water before slicing, you’ll find your corned meat so tender it will almost be difficult to cut without it falling apart…..hmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it….
Slow Cooker Corned Beef
Prep: 10 mins
Cooking: 8-9 hours (on low) or 4- 5 hours on high (if you want to risk it :-))
Serves: approx. 4
1.5 kg (approx.) piece of corned beef (I usually cook two of these at once)
1/4 cup white or brown vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
about 10 peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seeds (if you have them – they add a nice flavour)
2 bay leaves
6 cloves (the little black ones not garlic…just in case you were wondering)
1 small onion peeled but left whole
2 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
Enough water to cover meat in pot
1. Wash corned beef under fresh, cold water (this will remove the slimy salty residue)
2. Place meat in bottom of slow cooker and add all ingredients adding water last. Make sure water just covers meat.
3. Cook on low in your slow cooker for about 8-9 hours (or 4- 5 hours on high). For best results cook on low for longer then allow meat to rest in water for at least 20-30 mins.
4. Remove from water and slice thinly (or thickly) to serve.
Note: Discard cooking water. You can eat the carrots that you added to the water but a lot of people don’t like the ‘briny’ taste to them.
Another note: I actually cooked mine for about 9 hours the day before and left the meat to cool down for a couple of hours in the pot. It turned out beautiful and tender.
White (Cheese) Sauce Recipe
Prep: 10 mins
cooking: about 30 mins
2-3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain (or corn) flour
1/2 teaspoon all purpose seasoning (I use Masterfoods brand but if you don’t have it, season with salt and pepper)
1 onion chopped finely
600-800 mL milk
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1. In large pot melt butter over low heat then add onion. Sautee until onion transparent (about 3-4 mins)
2. Add flour and stir well for 1-2 mins (I use a whisk from this point because it ensures no lumps)
3. Little by little add milk to flour mix. Constantly whisk over low heat making sure mixture doesn’t stick on sides. Continue adding milk in small amounts.
4. Continue whisking until mixture thickens to custard texture (I like it thick but you can add more milk if you’d prefer it more runny).
5. Remove from heat, add grated cheese and whisk until mixed through.
Serve white sauce as an accompaniment for your corned beef or pour it over your veggies.
Serve with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, pumpkin or any other winter vegetable you can think of.
Note: If you pour the white (cheese) sauce over your steamed vegetables you can add a bit more grated cheese to the top and pop it in a medium oven for 20 minutes or until it starts to go a bit golden brown. Even yummier!