When you set the table for this cozy meal, skip the knives — the juicy corned beef and veg are totally fork-tender. American pale ale is the secret to this amazing texture, and it gives the robust, spice-infused sauce a kick. While it sounds similar, India pale ale isn’t a good substitute — the extra helping of hops will make the sauce bitter. Hang on to the latter variety for sipping.
Ingredients for the Corned Beef
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) sodium-reduced beef broth
1/2 cup (125 mL) American pale ale
Half 5 g cube beef bouillon, crumbled finely
1 tsp (5 mL) coriander seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) mustard seeds
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) black peppercorns
1/4 tsp (1 mL) whole cloves
1 3-inch-long cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 onions, peeled and cut in eighths
1 corned beef brisket (about 1.36 kg)
680 g baby potatoes, scrubbed
680 g carrots, scrubbed, trimmed, peeled and halved, if necessary (see tips)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Ingredients for the Horseradish-Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream
1/4 cup (60 mL) prepared horseradish (see tips)
2 tsp (10 mL) grainy mustard
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
Directions for the Corned Beef
1. In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, stir together broth, pale ale and crumbled bouillon cube. (Tip: The bouillon will not dissolve completely in the broth mixture, but crumbling it well ensures it will as it heats in the slow cooker.) Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix together coriander seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Set aside.
3. Scatter onions in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Place brisket, fat side up, in the centre and arrange potatoes around it. Place carrots on top of potatoes around edge of brisket. (A bit of overlap is fine.)
4. Pour broth mixture over vegetables, pressing any bouillon granules into liquid to submerge. Sprinkle spice mixture overtop. Cover and cook on low until vegetables and meat are tender, and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of brisket reads 190 to 195°F, about 8 hours.
5. To serve, slice meat crosswise against the grain. Arrange on a platter with potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with parsley (if using). Serve with Horseradish Mustard Sauce on the side.
Directions for the Horseradish-Mustard Sauce
1. While brisket is cooking, make sauce: In a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, horseradish, mustard and salt until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Young, fresh carrots tend to be sweeter and smaller; you can scrub and keep them whole. Organic carrots are a good option, too. If you have older and/or larger carrots, simply peel, quarter and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
To ensure the sauce has maximum flavour, buy higher-quality horseradish. It won’t be watered-down or vinegary.
Leftover corned beef makes a hearty sandwich. Toss slices between rye bread, add a dollop of horseradish-mustard sauce or grainy mustard, and your favourite sliced dill pickles.
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