Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef and Cabbage was the order of the day for hubby’s birthday meal recently. He loves it so much, and this year I was determined to make him proud! Last year (pre-solar-cooker), it was dry and tough and not very appetizing. This year (with the solar cooker), I am pleased to say that it was delicious! I also followed a bit more of a circuitous path to its completion, thanks to the advice of a friend of my parents’. It involves two days of cooking, but with the solar cooker, it’s no big deal. Here is what I did:
First, I set the solar cooker out to heat up at around 10:30 AM. I took my pouch of corned beef (I bought the kind that is already marinating in a package) and placed it in the black-lidded pot, which was then put into the cooker. It was an 81 degree day, and the solar cooker was at 260 degrees F when I put it in around 11 AM.
I left for a while, and the wind caught it and moved it around. (I keep it on the deck table, not staked in the yard.) This dropped the temperature by about 10 degrees, but I caught it in time and repositioned it, with a weight on its stand. I had to lower it a notch or two, so it wasn’t perfectly aligned with the sun, but it was hot enough in there to fulfill the first cooking installment.
I took the pot out at 5:30 PM. The gauge registered at 200 degrees F, but by this time it was out of the direct sun, and I was just basically keeping it warm. I left it on the counter to cool, so I could refrigerate it for its next cooking installment tomorrow. It was fork-tender, and it smelled good!
The next day was cloudy, so I prepped my slow cooker in the kitchen. I quartered a cabbage and placed it in the pot, along with onions, carrots, and potatoes. Because slicing cold beef is easier, I sliced the corned beef and placed it on top of the vegetables. I then poured the reserved cooking juices from yesterday over all. It was a tight fit! I had to squeeze the lid down while clamping it in place!
The verdict? Delicious. Tender, juicy, and flavorful. We agreed this must be done next year!