Instant pots have revolutionized the way many home-cooks prepare their meals, combining convenience with great taste. One of the dishes that truly benefits from this innovative appliance is corned beef and cabbage, which can be made in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. This article will explore the process of creating a delicious and satisfying Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage dish, demonstrating how simple it can be with the right technique.
Traditionally, corned beef and cabbage is a slow-cooked dish that requires several hours of simmering. However, using an Instant Pot dramatically cuts down on the cooking time, without sacrificing flavor or tenderness. The high-pressure environment within an Instant Pot allows the corned beef to become tender and the cabbage to cook to perfection with ease.
There are countless variations on this classic dish, with ingredients and seasonings varying based on cultural influences and personal preferences. Regardless of the specific recipe followed, one thing remains certain – the use of an Instant Pot can make the process of cooking corned beef and cabbage much more efficient, allowing individuals to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying their meal.
Choosing the Ingredients
Corned Beef Brisket vs. Beef Brisket
When making instant pot corned beef and cabbage, it is important to choose the right type of meat. Corned beef brisket is the preferred choice for this dish as it is a beef brisket that has been cured in a salt solution, giving it a distinct flavor. Traditional beef brisket, not cured in brine, is usually more suited for slow-cooked barbecue dishes or pot roasts.
Flat Cut vs. Point Cut
Corned beef brisket is available in two different cuts: flat cut and point cut. The flat cut has less fat, making it easier to slice uniformly, while the point cut is fattier, offering a richer and more tender taste. For instant pot corned beef and cabbage, either cut can be used, depending on personal preference.
|Cut||Fat Content||Ease of Slicing|
|Flat Cut||Less Fat||Easier|
|Point Cut||More Fat||Harder|
The classic vegetables in this dish are cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. It is best to use sturdy vegetables that can withstand pressure cooking without becoming mushy.
- Cabbage: Choose a small, firm head of green cabbage, removing any wilted outer leaves.
- Carrots: Opt for medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into chunks.
- Potatoes: Waxy potatoes, like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, hold up better during pressure cooking.
Spice Packet and Pickling Spices
Most store-bought corned beef briskets come with a spice packet included. These contain pickling spices like mustard seeds, coriander, allspice, and bay leaves. If a spice packet is not supplied or you want a stronger flavor, create your own pickling spice mixture:
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
- 2-3 dried bay leaves, crushed
Simply add these spices to your instant pot when preparing the dish to enhance the flavor profile of corned beef and cabbage.
Preparing the Instant Pot
To begin, place the trivet at the bottom of the Instant Pot. Using a trivet ensures the corned beef will be elevated, allowing for better heat distribution and preventing it from sticking to the pot. Make sure the trivet is level and stable before proceeding to the next step.
Water and Beer Addition
Next, add water and beer to the Instant Pot. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of water, which will help create the necessary steam for pressure cooking. Following the water, add 1 cup of beer, preferably Guinness, to enhance the flavor of the dish. The combination of water and beer creates a delicious and tender corned beef.
When adding the liquids, be careful not to exceed the maximum fill line marked on the inner pot. Following the recommended quantities will ensure optimal cooking. Once the water and beer mixture is in place, the Instant Pot is ready for the corned beef and cabbage ingredients.
Pressure Cooking Basics
High Pressure vs. Low Pressure
Pressure cookers, including Instant Pots, offer two pressure settings: high and low pressure. High pressure causes the boiling point of water to rise, which allows the food to cook faster. It is ideal for cooking denser, tougher ingredients like corned beef. On the other hand, low pressure works best for delicate items and vegetables that may fall apart under high pressure, such as cabbage in this dish.
The choice of pressure level depends on the type of food being cooked and the desired texture. It is crucial to carefully follow recipe instructions to ensure optimal cooking results.
Natural Release vs. Quick Release
After pressure cooking, there are two methods to release steam: natural release and quick release.
Natural release involves allowing the pressure in the cooker to drop gradually by cooling it down naturally. This process can take up to 30 minutes, depending on the amount and type of food cooked. Natural release is perfect for meats like corned beef, as it helps retain moisture and tenderness.
Quick release, on the other hand, involves carefully releasing steam from the cooker immediately after cooking. This can be done by turning the steam release valve or pressing a release button, depending on the model. Quick release works well for delicate items, such as vegetables like cabbage, to prevent overcooking.
Both methods have their benefits, and choosing the right release method is essential for achieving the desired texture and doneness in your dish.
Cooking the Corned Beef
Cooking Time and Temperature
For a tender and flavorful Instant Pot corned beef, it is essential to cook it at the appropriate time and temperature. The recommended cooking time for Instant Pot corned beef is 90 minutes under high pressure. In general, the Instant Pot should display “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” mode, depending on the model. After the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 15 minutes.
Seasoning and Spices
The key to a delicious corned beef is the proper mix of seasoning and spices. Typically, corned beef is pre-packaged with a packet of pickling spice. For added flavor, consider adding a few additional spices. It is recommended to use the following spices:
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice (included with the beef or store-bought)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 bay leaves, crushed
- 3-4 whole black peppercorns
Combine these spices in a small bowl and set aside for use in the cooking process.
To ensure that the corned beef stays moist and tender, it is crucial to use a suitable cooking liquid during the pressure cooking process. Beef broth is the most commonly used cooking liquid for Instant Pot corned beef. However, feel free to experiment with other liquids like water, beer, or a combination of both.
Prepare the Instant Pot for pressure cooking by following these steps:
- Place the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add 4 cups of beef broth or your preferred cooking liquid.
- Create a spice pouch by placing the pickling spices in a piece of aluminum foil and folding it into a small packet. Place the spice pouch in the Instant Pot.
- Add the corned beef to the Instant Pot, fat side up, on top of the trivet.
Once the corned beef has reached the desired level of tenderness, remove it from the Instant Pot and set aside to rest. You can then proceed to cook the accompanying cabbage.
Adding the Vegetables
When preparing Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage, it’s essential to layer the vegetables correctly to ensure even cooking. First, make sure to chop your vegetables in similar sizes for uniform cooking: cut the green cabbage into wedges, peel and slice the carrots (or use baby carrots), and halve the baby potatoes or red potatoes. If you prefer, you can also include other vegetables such as onion, garlic, or rutabaga.
Begin by placing the larger, denser vegetables at the bottom of the Instant Pot, directly over the corned beef. This includes the potatoes, carrots, and any other root vegetables like rutabaga. Next, add a layer of onions and garlic if desired for additional flavor.
Final Cooking Steps
After layering the denser vegetables, place the cabbage wedges on top. It’s essential to add the cabbage last, as it’s a more delicate vegetable and might overcook if placed directly on the corned beef.
Once the vegetables are layered in the Instant Pot, secure the lid and set the pressure to high. Cook the corned beef and vegetables for a few more minutes (usually 3-5 minutes) to ensure the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
Carefully release the pressure and remove the lid. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked vegetables to a serving dish and let the corned beef rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Serving and Garnishing
After your Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage has finished cooking, the dish can be beautifully served and garnished. The way you present your meal can enhance both the visual appeal and flavor of the dish.
Irish Soda Bread Pairing
One popular and enjoyable pairing is to serve the Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage with some delicious Irish soda bread. This hearty, rustic bread provides a nice contrast to the tender corned beef and flavorful cabbage. In particular, the bread’s mild taste complements the sodium content of the dish, balancing out the flavors. When serving with bread, you can arrange the slices in a basket on the table or plate individual pieces alongside the corned beef and cabbage.
Corned beef and cabbage can be even more delightful when accompanied by some tasty condiments. Two excellent options for enhancing the flavors of this dish are whole grain mustard and horseradish.
- Whole grain mustard: This type of mustard is known for its slightly less sharp taste and appealing grainy texture. It pairs wonderfully with Instant Pot corned beef, as it adds a tangy element without overpowering the dish. Simply place some whole grain mustard in a small dish and let your guests spread it on their corned beef to suit their taste.
- Horseradish: For those who prefer a more robust and zingy accompaniment, horseradish is a perfect choice. Combine fresh horseradish with a touch of apple cider to mellow its strong flavor. The resulting condiment provides a welcome contrast to the tender corned beef and soft cabbage. Just like with the mustard, provide a small dish for horseradish on your table, so guests can adjust the dish to their personal preference.
When garnishing your Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage, consider using sprigs of fresh parsley for an added touch of elegance and freshness. Their vibrant green color adds a lovely contrast against the dish and will make it more visually appealing on the serving platter. With these thoughtful serving and garnishing suggestions, you can be confident that your Instant Pot corned beef recipe will impress your guests with both its taste and presentation.
Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage is a flavorful, easy-to-make meal that is quite nutritious. A standard serving size of 1-cup of cooked corned beef, cabbage, and some vegetables like potatoes and carrots, delivers approximately 400-450 calories. As with any dish, the actual calorie count can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and portions consumed.
When it comes to macronutrients, Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage offers a balanced meal:
- Protein: Corned beef is a good source of protein, containing about 24 grams per 4 ounces of cooked meat.
- Carbohydrates: The vegetables in the dish, particularly the potatoes, contribute a modest amount of carbohydrates. A 1-cup serving provides around 30-40 grams of total carbohydrates, including potatoes and carrots.
- Dietary Fiber: Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, is rich in dietary fiber. In combination with the other vegetables, a single serving yields approximately 4-5 grams of fiber.
In terms of fat content:
- Saturated fat: Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage contains an average of 7 grams of saturated fat per serving, mostly from the corned beef.
- Cholesterol: Corned beef is relatively high in cholesterol, containing about 80 mg in a 4-ounce serving.
Considering its sugar content, Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage is low in sugar, with most vegetables having negligible amounts. It’s important to keep an eye on the overall composition of the dish and individual preferences or dietary needs, as specific ingredients and preparation may affect the nutritional value.
Leftover Ideas and Storage
One great idea for using leftover corned beef and cabbage is to create flavorful sandwiches. The natural tenderness of the corned beef makes an excellent pairing with a variety of breads and dressings. For a unique twist, consider adding a layer of savoy cabbage to your sandwich instead of regular lettuce. Feel free to experiment with different combinations while keeping in mind the flavor profile of your corned beef and cabbage recipe.
Freezing and Reheating Tips
To store the leftovers from your Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage meal, follow these simple steps:
- Allow the dish to cool down to room temperature.
- Separate the corned beef and cabbage into individual containers or freezer bags.
- Label the containers with the name of the dish and the date it was prepared.
- When storing in the freezer, ensure that the container is tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn.
When it is time to reheat your corned beef and cabbage, transfer the container to the refrigerator and let it thaw for a day. To maintain the best quality and flavor, consume leftovers within 2 to 3 months from the date they were prepared.
For reheating, it is advisable to use the electric pressure cooker’s steam mode instead of natural pressure release, as this will prevent overcooking. Place the corned beef and cabbage in the Instant Pot, and add a small amount of liquid, such as 1/4 cup of Guinness beer, to create a moist environment for reheating. Once the dish is heated through, remove it from the pressure cooker and sprinkle with fresh parsley leaves for a touch of brightness.
Remember to follow these guidelines and use your creativity to create delicious dishes out of your leftover Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Alternative Cooking Methods
For those who want to explore different ways of preparing corned beef and cabbage, there are several alternatives to the Instant Pot method. One popular option is to slow cook the dish in a crockpot. By adding beef stock and stout beer to the slow cooker along with the cured beef brisket, waxy potatoes, and bay leaves, you can achieve a tender and flavorful meal. The low and slow cooking process breaks down the marbling in the meat, making it very tender.
Another method to consider is oven-roasting the corned beef and cabbage. In this method, wrap the beef brisket in foil to seal in the flavor and moisture. Roasting in the oven at a low temperature for several hours will ensure a juicy and tender outcome.
Creating Your Own Corned Beef Brisket
While store-bought corned beef is a convenient option for most people, making your own corned beef can be a rewarding experience, particularly for those who enjoy experimenting with flavors. To make your own corned beef brisket, start by researching different seasoning options such as mustard seeds, allspice, and red pepper flakes.
Once you’ve decided on the seasoning mix, submerge the beef brisket in a brining solution made of water, kosher salt, and your chosen spices. Store the brisket in the fridge and let it cure for at least 5 days, turning it over every day to ensure even curing. After the curing process, rinse the brisket under cold water and cook according to your preferred method, be it Instant Pot, slow cooker or oven-roasted.
During the cooking process, consider adding butter to the cabbage to enhance its flavor and complement the corned beef. Finally, celebrate the accomplishment of making your own corned beef brisket with family and friends, perhaps by serving it as a special meal on St. Patrick’s Day.
Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 5 cloves Garlic (chopped or whole)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 lb Baby carrots
- 2 lbs Baby potatoes
- 1 Green cabbage
- 4 lb Corned beef brisket
- 3-4 cups Water for the Instant Pot
Corned Beef Brisket Cooking Method
- First, you’ll need to prepare your corned beef brisket ready for the slow cooker. With a knife, carefully cut it out of its packaging and, if it has a spice packet, set it to one side before proceeding to give your corned beef a quick rinse under your tap.
- Once you have thoroughly given your brisket a wash, transfer it to your Instant Pot, placing it on the rack. If it has a side that has more fat on it than the other, pop the fattier side face down, so it will be able to absorb the flavour better.
- If you purchased a corned beef brisket that came with a seasoning packet, carefully cut it open and evenly sprinkle the seasoning across the top of your corned beef brisket.
- Before you begin cooking, go ahead and place your garlic cloves directly on top of the corned beef brisket. By doing this instead of placing the garlic cloves next to the beef, the meat will be able to better absorb the juices and fragrant aroma of the garlic.
- Then, pour in 3 to 4 cups of water around the beef, being careful not to disturb any of the seasoning or garlic cloves. Alternatively, you can also choose to fill your Instant Pot Slow Cooker with broth, however, we recommend making sure to only use broth if your one has low salt content, as too much salt will make your corned beef taste bad.
- Now, it’s time to switch the cooker on and let the magic happen. Carefully fasten the lid over the top of your Instant Pot, and switch over the steam vent to the ‘Sealing’ option. Then, switch on ‘Pressure Cook’ and set the time to 1 hour and 30 minutes, making sure to select ‘High Pressure’ so that the beef brisket will correctly cook.*
- After your cooker has finished the allocated duration you have set, you can go ahead and lift up the lid and cease the pressure cooking.
- Grab a plate and lay it next to your Instant Pot Slow Cooker.
- With tongs, carefully remove the corned beef brisket from the cooker and transfer it to the plate. You can also remove the garlic cloves and pop them on the plate if you still want them, though many people choose to discard them at this point.
- Immediately wrap the beef into aluminum foil to make sure it stays warm, and place in a preheated oven on light to medium heat.
Cabbage Cooking Method
- After you’ve removed your beef, you’ll be left with the hot water still inside the Instant Pot. Take your cabbage and any other vegetables you would like to prepare (for this recipe we use baby carrots and baby potatoes) and add them all together inside the Instant Pot.
- Just like you did with the corned beef brisket, switch on ‘Pressure Cook’ and set the timer for 5 minutes. Again, the pressure cooker will likely need some time to build up enough pressure but, once it has, it will begin the countdown across the digital display.
- Once the pressure cooking is complete, use the same tongs you used for the beef and carefully begin extracting the vegetables, allowing them to drain before placing them on the serving plate.
- After you have done this, cut the beef and place it on the serving plate.
- Pour a little of the leftover broth from the Instant Pot over the top of the meat, to add an extra dose of juice, which will ensure that the meat is not dry.
- Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top if you so desire, grab your knife and fork and enjoy!