New England boiled dinner is a one-pot dish consisting of corned beef or fresh beef brisket or smoked picnic ham shoulder, with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes.
What’s in New England Boiled Dinner?
When made with corned beef, it's an Irish-American corned beef and cabbage dish, traditionally made around St. Patrick's Day.
My parents like boiled dinner with fresh, uncured brisket. Others make it with smoked ham shoulder. The following recipe is for boiled dinner made with either corned beef or fresh beef brisket.
History of Traditional New England Boiled Dinner
This dish originated in New England, probably with Irish immigrants who used ham in Ireland but had an easier time getting brisket in the U.S. And let's be clear, the Irish didn't invent boiling meat and vegetables together. The method is found in most food cultures because it's a way to stretch meat and vegetables to provide a hearty, filling meal to those around the table.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about its origins in New England is the ruffled feathers when those who grew up in the Northeast discuss what the ingredients must be and what ingredients should never be in the pot. In the reader comments, the word "blasphemy" comes up in reference to the use of kielbasa. But that's the beauty of regional dishes. Within the region, communities and even individual families make variations of the dish. For some New Englanders who live close to the Atlantic coast, cod, not ham or beef, makes its way into the pot.
Buying Corned Beef or Brisket
Corned beef is a salted and cured version of beef brisket. The meat is cured in brine and "corns" of rock salt (hence the name). You'll find it in the meat section of your grocery store, vacuum packed and ready to cook.
In general, we recommend planning on about 1/2 pound of meat per person. However, in the case of corned beef, plan for 3/4 pound, since it tends to cook down a lot.
If buying regular fresh brisket, look for the point cut, which comes with a bit of fat, making it more flavorful. If all you can find is the flat (leaner) cut, it'll also work just fine. Don't worry about the marbling in the meat since brisket doesn't really have it. The fat just comes as one big piece.
Make It in the Slow Cooker
The beauty of New England boiled dinner is that it can also be made in the slow cooker. Place the corned beef and spices in your slow cooker and cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours.
Then, remove it for a bit while you add the vegetables. Place the potatoes, turnips, and carrots on the bottom. Put the corned beef back in, then tuck the cabbage in on the sides of the meat.
Cook an additional hour on high (or 2 hours on low), until the vegetables are cooked, and the meat is tender.
How to Store and Reheat This Recipe
Refrigerate tightly covered for three to four days. Reheat on the stovetop on medium until hot and the beef reaches 165°F.
More Soothing One-Pot Dinners
- One Pot Chicken and Orzo
- Pot Roast
- Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder With Apple Gravy
- Turkey Chili With Black Beans
- Smoky Vegan Lentil Stew
New England Boiled Dinner
Corned beef can be pretty salty. So, if you are making boiled dinner with corned beef, you may want to put it in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and then discard the water before starting the recipe. If the broth ends up being too salty, you can serve just the meat and vegetables without the broth, or add water to the broth to dilute it.
1 (3 1/2-pound) corned beef brisket or fresh beef brisket
8 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt, if using fresh brisket
2 medium turnips, peeled and quartered
4 red new potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 large carrots, cut into thirds and the thickest pieces quartered lengthwise
1 small head cabbage, cut into fourths
Horseradish sauce, mustard, or both, for serving
Boil the corned beef and seasonings:
Put the brisket in a 5- or 6-quart Dutch oven and cover with an inch of water.
If you are using corned beef brisket and it does not come already packed in seasoning, add peppercorns, cloves, and a bay leaf to the pot.
If using fresh brisket, add 1 teaspoon of salt for every quart of water.
Bring to a simmer and then cover, lowering the heat until it is barely simmering. Keep at a low simmer for 4 hours or until the meat is tender (a fork goes through easily).
Remove the meat and add the vegetables:
Remove the meat and set aside, keeping the meat warm. Add the vegetables to the pot. Check the broth for taste. If it is too salty, add a little more water to taste.
Raise the temperature and bring the soup to a high simmer. Cook at a high simmer until done, about 15 to 30 minutes longer, depending on the size of the cut of your vegetables.
Slice the meat across the grain:
Slice the meat in thin slices across the grain. You may find it easier to slice if you first cut the roast in half along the same direction as the grain of the meat. Then slice smaller lengths across the grain.
Serve in bowls, a few pieces of meat in each, add some of the vegetables and some broth. Serve with horseradish sauce, mustard or both.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||17%|
|Total Carbohydrate 23g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 6g||21%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 71mg||355%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|