Corned Beef and Cabbage

by BC
(St. Louis)

Before

Before

Before
After

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!

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