New England Boiled Dinner

St. Patrick's DayComfort FoodGluten-FreeBeef

New England boiled dinner, a one pot dish consisting of corned beef or plain brisket, cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

New England boiled dinner is a one pot dish consisting of corned beef or plain beef brisket or smoked picnic ham shoulder, with cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

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 to boiled dinner with plain, uncured brisket. Others make it with smoked ham shoulder. The following recipe is for boiled dinner made with either corned beef or plain beef brisket.

New England Boiled Dinner Recipe

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  • Cook time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

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.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pounds corned beef brisket or plain beef brisket
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, if using plain brisket
  • 2 medium sized 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

Method

1 Put corned beef in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings, simmer: 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 plain brisket, add a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water.

Bring to a simmer and then cover, lower the heat until it is barely simmering. Keep at a low simmer for four hours or until the meat is tender (a fork goes through easily).

2 Remove meat, add vegetables, simmer: 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 15-30 minutes longer, depending on the size of the cut of your vegetables.

3 Slice 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 or mustard or both.

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New England Boiled Dinner with potatoes, carrots, cabbage and corned beef

55 Comments / Reviews

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  • Mark Frekki

    Mom made this, but with codfish. I would get up at 5 AM to finish the leftovers, cold, right from the fridge.

  • timjjoebillybob

    I’ve a question. When people are referring to smoked butt/shoulder and using it interchangeable with picnic, what cut and how is it cured/smoked? Where I’m from a butt/shoulder is a way different hunk of meat than a picnic. Here, when we refer to a smoked butt/shoulder we are talking BBQ, a picnic or picnic ham can refer to a cured or “fresh” front leg of the pig. Usually when someone is talking about smoked butt/shoulder it’s fully cooked shredded pork.

  • Joan

    I’m from Taunton, MA and make it mostly like yours, but like my mother I add the veggies a half hour before the meat is done and also a cup of Uncle Ben’s rice in a cheesecloth bag (or you can make your own bag with 3 new men’s handkerchiefs hand sewn together & a new shoestring minus the plastic ends). Tie tightly & balance the bag of rice on the veggies, get it boiling again, then back to simmer for a half hour. 20 minutes before the end of cooking I add the quartered cabbage around the bag of rice and get it boiling again, then simmer. I empty the hot bag of cooked rice in a separate bowl for serving. SO good in the plate with a generous pat of butter on top of the rice. Also, we mash the carrots together with the potato in our plate w/ a pat of butter. Bag can be used over and over again – I hand wash it really good then in the washing machine with the towel load on hot.

  • Shelley

    To keep the kids from eating the meat and leaving the vegetables on the plate, I’ve taken to cutting everything up and turning it into a Corned Beef and Cabbage Stew. It cooks faster, is eaten with gusto, and nothing is left behind!

  • Fran Romeo

    My Mother made this with a smoked pork shoulder. She would save the water and make pea soup with it. Just delicious with the little bits of vegtables in it. So good

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