Of course you have to start with corned beef. This isn’t a recipe where you can substitute the canned version and still achieve good results. You can do the curing yourself (it takes 10 days in the fridge) or you can buy fully cured beef.
The link for the corned beef recipe (the brining part) is provided in the ingredients list. If using store-bought corned beef, know that it comes in two versions — uncooked and fully cooked. Because you need the cooking liquid to make this soup, you will want to get uncooked corned beef.
Is corned beef and cabbage soup an Irish dish?
Yes and no. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Irish were originally pork eaters until the British conquered the country. To satisfy the British demand for beef, cattle were raised in colonies, including Ireland, then exported to Britain. The Irish, meanwhile, were too poor to afford to buy and eat the beef they were producing.
Then, the Irish immigrated to America where they settled in communities that housed immigrants from other countries including Jewish people from Eastern and Central Europe. The Irish immigrants, no longer as poor as they were in their homeland, could afford beef which they bought from Jewish butchers.
They threw cured beef brisket into the pot with cabbage and potatoes (the latter their staple back home) and corned beef and cabbage soup was born. Strictly speaking, therefore, corned beef and cabbage soup is Irish-American.
Slow cooker corned beef and cabbage soup
Corned beef and broth
- 500 grams home cured corned beef - or store-bought uncooked corned beef
- 1 onion - halved
- 4 cloves garlic - pounded
- ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
To complete the dish
- 1 to 2 tomatoes - quartered
- 250 grams potatoes - peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 head white cabbage - cored and cut into wedges
- salt - optional
- Rinse the beef under the tap well.
- Put the beef in the slow cooker and cover with cold water.
- Add the onion halves and garlic cloves.
- Cook on HIGH for two hours then switch to LOW and cook for another three hours.
- Scoop out the beef.
- Strain the broth and pour back into the slow cooker.
- Add the tomatoes, potatoes and cabbage to the broth.
- Cook on HIGH for another 40 to 50 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Taste. Add salt, if needed (chances are you won't need to because the cooking liquid is already perfectly seasoned after the corned beef has cooked in it).
- Cut the corned beef into cubes and add to the vegetables in the cooker.
- Continue cooking for another 10 minutes or until the soup is bubbly.
- Ladle the corned beef and cabbage soup into bowls, and serve immediately.