Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Recipe for corned beef with tangy horseradish-mustard sauce (pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop)

Growing up not in the St. Patrick's Day tradition, but in the corned-beef-on-rye-at-the-deli tradition, I'm a huge fan of corned beef. Fortunately, right after St. Patrick's Day, corned beef goes on sale in my local supermarket, and I snag a few pieces of low-sodium flat-cutcorned beef to stash in the freezer. (Low sodium is the key, so be sure to look for that on the label.) Usually I cook it in the slow cooker, or even on the stove top, but this year I put my new electric pressure cooker to the test. I don't want to brag, but, honestly, this was the best corned beef I've ever made, and it was by far the easiest. No fussing required, ready in under two hours, perfectly tender, not salty, great for sandwiches the next day. All around perfect, with a kick from horseradish in the mustard sauce. Skip the traditional New England boiled dinner of corned beef and soggy vegetables: serve your corned beef with a platter of oven-roasted carrots, cabbage and potatoes, or this roasted cabbage, apple and pecan salad.

Corned beef with tangy horseradish-mustard sauce

From the pantry, you'll need: bay leafblack peppercornsDijon mustardprepared horseradishmayonnaisebeer (I use non-alcoholic).
Serves 6-8.


3.5- to 4-lb low-sodium flat cut corned beef
12-oz bottle of beer (I use O'Doul's non-alcoholic beer)
1 bay leaf
3 black peppercorns
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp prepared horseradish
4 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper


You can cook corned beef in the pressure cooker, in a slow cooker or in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. I've tried them all, and honestly, my new pressure cooker does the best job. If you have all of the options available, go the pressure route. Note that the amount of liquid varies with each method.
Pressure cooker method: Remove the corned beef from the package, and discard the spice packet. Rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat off the corned beef, but leave a thin layer to protect the meat. Place the meat in the pressure cooker. Pour the beer into an 8-cup measuring cup; add water up to the 6-cup mark. Pour the liquid into the cooker, along with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Following the directions that came with your pressure cooker, cook the corned beef on High Pressure for 90 minutes. Use Natural Pressure Release for 15 minutes, then release the remaining pressure with the Quick Release method. Use tongs to remove the meat to a platter, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before slicing the meat.
Slow cooker method: Prepare the meat as above, and set it in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Pour in the bottle of beer. Add water to almost cover the meat. Toss in the bay leaf, and add 12 black peppercorns. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours, until the meat is fork-tender. Remove from the cooker, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Stovetop method: Prepare the meat as above, and place it in a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. Pour in the bottle of beer, and add water to cover. Toss in the bay leaf, and add 12 black peppercorns. Over high heat, bring the liquid to a boil. Then, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 4 hours, until the meat is fork-tender. Remove from the pot, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
While the meat is cooking, mix together the mustard, horseradish, mayonnaise and black pepper. Cover and set in the refrigerator until the meat is cooked. The longer the sauce sits, the more tangy it will be.
Slice the meat, and serve hot, at room temperature or cold, with the mustard sauce. You can freeze the meat after it is completely cooled.

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