New England Boiled Dinner

I bought a big head of cabbage at the farmer's market and a bunch of little potatoes at the coop, planning on a dinner party. But the week turned out to be too busy for guests, so the cabbage and potatoes were still around. I was thinking of making my milk-braised pork chops or maybe frikadellen, and ran these ideas by my life-partner. Basically, tell me what kind of pork you want. His response was "My favorite kind of pork is... corned beef."

Oh no. I don't think I like corned beef. But I figured it would be easy. I could throw it in the slow cooker. What is it called when you put potatoes, corned beef, and cabbage in a slow cooker? Oh. It's called New England Boiled Dinner.

Here's part of my problem with corned beef. It is funny looking. It has a lurid reddish color that doesn't go away when it's cooked. It has disturbing fatty bits and quivering connective stuff. It looks like it should be inside of something alive, not glistening on my counter. The guy at Price Chopper kindly halved a $19 piece of corned beef so I didn't have to deal with a gigantic piece, just a big piece.

So I plopped this in the slow cooker with the cabbage, 2 large chopped carrots and about 5 potatoes. It was already past noon, so I cranked it to "high." I also added a bay leaf, about 10 peppercorns, and enough water to cover the meat so it could really braise.

Six hours later it was done. I only had to intervene once, to push the cabbage down into the liquid so it could get all properly floppy.

To serve, I spooned out all the vegetables, then put the corned beef on its own plate. LOOK AT THIS. This is what I'm talking about with the weird grossness of corned beef. What is that tripey bit???

I bravely scraped off the fat and gaggy stuff, then sliced what remained. It started to look normal. Even edible.

So we ate it. And guess what, New England Boiled Dinner is really good! This truly is a boiled dinner, nothing else was needed except maybe mustard. One kid loved the meat the best, the other only wanted to eat the potatoes.

For dessert we had a half-recipe of yummy apple crisp, liberally squirted with whipped cream.

I'm not from New England, but I guess this is a regular thing that people's moms make, kind of an eye-roller of a dish like meatloaf. But I recommend it! Have you ever had it or made it?

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