Every St. Patrick’s Day, supermarkets run sales on their corned beef and I hunger for that old familiar taste. This year, as I did last year, I bought some corned beef and tried cooking it sous vide again. I think I perfected my recipe this year.
I tried a couple of different recipes last year (cooking at 135° for 24 to 48 hours, with the spice packet sprinkled around the beef), but the recipes didn’t quite give me the familiar texture I recalled from my youth, and the spices clung to the beef. I searched again for recipes online, combined ideas from different ones – this one, cooking at 178° for 10 hours – and I ended up with what I had been searching for.
As with all other preparations, the cooked corned beef lost 40% of its weight by throwing off juices. Wrapping the spices in cheesecloth kept the meat clean, while still flavoring it.
3 pounds corned beef (from supermarket, vacuum packed with spice packet)
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered (depending on size)
1 head cabbage, washed and cut into six or eight wedges
Heat water in sous vide cooker to 178°.
Remove beef and spice packet from vacuum pack. Wash beef well and place in a gallon Ziploc freezer bag. Wrap the spices a piece of cheesecloth (several layers thick) and tie with string into a bag. Place atop beef in the freezer bag. Suck air account and seal.
Place beef flat in the sous vide covered in 178° water, weight down with the rack, and cook for 10 hours.
Heat 8 cups of water in a large cooking pot and until almost boiling (best, below 178°). Turn off heat.
Drain the cooking liquid from the cooking bag into a container, with the wrapped spice ball.
Place the beef from sous vide bag into the hot water in the cooking pot, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This will remove the excess saltiness from the beef and flavor the cooking water. Put the beef back into the Ziploc bag, suck the air out, and reheat in the sous vide cooker at 178°.
Pour cooking juices and spice ball into the cooking pot, with the vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook for about 45 minutes.
Remove the corned beef from the sous vide bag and slice across the grain into 1/2 inch slices. (Because the beef is so tender, it doesn’t need to be sliced thinner.) Serve with the boiled vegetables and ketchup, if desired (I find the ketchup adds a nice sweet and sour element to the salty beef).
The corned beef slices and vegetables reheat well in the microwave, but be sure not to overnuke the meat!