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Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef Dinner

My first few experiments with cooking corned beef in a slow cooker (or crock pot) were quite frankly, disastrous. Inedible, or barely edible, at first, my experiments gradually moved towards slightly palatable to the final result which is very good. Honestly, would a slow cooker be my choice for cooking a corned beef and cabbage dish? No, I still think you have a lot more control over the dish when cooking it on a stove top and/or oven. However, mixing a busy schedule with a 4-5 hour cooking time can make the traditional recipe hard, or even impossible to manage. If you prepare the ingredients the night before you can just toss everything in the slow cooker and let it cook away. Soaking and rinsing the corned beef is an essential step, and for goodness sake make sure to discard the seasoning packet that might come with your corned beef or you will have a final dish that is much too salty. Getting the vegetables to come out perfectly, especially the cabbage, is also very difficult. If you have the time, I would make braised cabbage or even just steam cabbage until tender and add it to the slow cooker when you remove the brisket and toss to coat with the sauce and reheat it thoroughly. You can even cook the cabbage the day before and refrigerate it. I have included directions on how to cook everything in one pot, but have honestly had mixed results with the cabbage. If you do not have mustard seeds, you can use a tablespoon of whole grained mustard and add adjust the seasonings right before cooking. We used Guinness and a pale ale and had good, if different, results with use your favorite type of beer. Water, low sodium chicken broth, or apple juice can be used in place of the beer if desired. If you want to prepare just the corned beef in the slow cooker and the vegetables separately, make sure to try our Slow Cooker Corned Beef.

2 1/2-3 pound corned beef brisket
3 whole peeled garlic cloves
2 onions
5 carrots
6 potatoes
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups dark beer
1 medium cabbage (about 2 pounds) cut into eight wedges

Cut the brisket in half and place in a large bowl or pot and cover with cold water. Let soak while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Grease a 6 to 7-quart slow cooker and sprinkle the bottom with the garlic cloves. Peel and thickly slice the onions and place on the bottom of the slow cooker. Peel and thinly slice the carrots and place on top of the onions. Peel and thickly slice the potatoes and layer on top of the carrots. Drain and rinse the brisket and place on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and brown sugar over the brisket and vegetables. Pour the beer overtop, cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Remove the lid and add the cabbage wedges on top of the brisket. Increase the heat to high and cook for another hour. Remove the lid and test to see if the brisket and vegetables are tender. Remove the brisket, and any fully cooked vegetables, to a platter and cover with foil to allow the meat to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Taste the vegetables and sauce and adjust the seasonings as desired, removing the bay leaves before serving. Replace the lid and cook on high for 10-15 minutes. Arrange the rest of the vegetables on the platter and pour the sauce on top.

Makes 8 Servings.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours, 50 minutes

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