Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned beef and cabbage always gets devoured by adults and children alike in our home. It's a surprise to all with turnips, cabbage, and tons of odd spices, but the flavor when it all comes together is something out of this world. Whether you decide to do this from scratch or just toss a corned beef brisket into a pressure cooker for 90 minutes, you're going to love it!
Corning Your Own Beef
When starting with a 2-3 pound grass fed beef brisket, you'll want to begin 2-5 days before your meal. 2 days if you are brave enough to leave the beef on your counter like we do, or 5 days if you choose to stick to refrigeration.
Start with a large covered pot, I like to use the slow cooker pot as shown above. Juice a large bunch of organic celery. Celery is always on the dirty dozen list of most pesticide-toxic vegetables, so it's imperative that you only juice organic stalks. Pesticide residue can kill off the good bacteria we are trying to rely on.
Try to get about 2 cups of celery juice, adding filtered water to round it out if necessary. Since we are using the natural nitrates in the celery and will be adding natural bacteria from a pickle brine, whey, or sour kraut juice, we must use filtered water too. Chlorine and other harsh solvents added to tap water can destroy the beneficial bacteria we are trying to use to cure the meat.
Add 2 cups of sour kraut juice, whey (the fluid floating above your plain yogurt), a salt brined pickle juice such as seen in Sonoma Brinery Pickles, or a starter cultured packet as seen in Cultures for Health mixed in water.
Introducing these fluids full of cultures that have already begun fermenting will guarantee that you grow beneficial bacteria instead of mold. A few more precautions can be taken also.
Steps to Fermenting Meat Properly
- Use naturally occurring nitrates in organic celery juice
- Include a brine that is already cultured, full of beneficial bacteria
- Use a great deal of unrefined sea salt
- Make sure the meat is completely submerged by the salty brine
Add 1/2 cup of unrefined sea salt to your brine and submerge the meat completely. You can add a few cups of water if necessary to completely cover the meat.
Finally add in 1/8 cup of pickling spices such as dill seed, allspice berries, mustard seed, chili flakes, peppercorns, bay leaves, and cloves. I just grab a 1/4 cup, start filling it with whatever spices from the last I have and stop when it's about half full. This is not rocket science.
Cover the project with a lid and a dark dish towel and leave alone for 2 days on the counter. Try not to open the lid and peek inside; this may introduce new bacteria that may not be beneficial. If you want to refrigerate the meat, leave it alone for up to 5 days.
When it's finished chop up the vegetables in rather large pieces and add them to your slow cooker. Rinse off the meat really well and add that on top of your veggies. Add a new 1/8 cup of pickling spices and cover with fresh filtered water.
Do not add salt!
The salted beef will provide the perfect amount of salt to this dish. Depending on when you need this dish to be done, arrange your timer on your slow cooker. I like to cook all day while I'm at work so I choose LOW for 8-10 hours. You can speed it up using HIGH for 6 hours or even pressure cook it for 90 minutes.
This dish just screams for some delicious homemade bread to scoop up the juices. We love the homemade Brown Soda Bread by Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchens or look for a gluten free version online. I trust this recipe by Brittany Angel; her recipes always seem to please.