Category Archives: crock pot

Turkey White Chili

Ah Thanksgiving leftovers.  They seem like a bounty of riches at first, and then…  I’ve gotten to the I’m-so-tired-of-turkey phase.  Part of this is because most of the time I’m vegan, and I just don’t care much for meat anymore.  However, my son is NOT vegan, and I didn’t want to mess with a holiday tradition for him, so we roasted a small turkey.  But even a small turkey can result in a fairly large bag of leftover meat!  What to do, what to do?  I’d already made tetrazzini and enchiladas.  I didn’t want it going to waste, or even lurking in my freezer, scolding me for not using it.  I want to use up ALL of the rest of it!

Winter weather has a tendency to make me crave a warm bowl of soup, and my husband ALWAYS craves spicy.  How ’bout a white chili, then?  The Google provided me with lots of inspiration.  Does anyone else resort to the interwebs for food inspiration?  It’s like searching through ton of cookbooks with a click!  The Pioneer Woman got me started and I improvised from there.

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Grab your bag of leftover turkey and a crockpot and by the time you get home from work, Turkey White Chili will be waiting to warm your chilly self!

ingredients

  • 2-2 1/2 cups cooked turkey, shredded or chunked
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 4 cups or so chicken broth (I use No Chicken Broth)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or minced
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 TBSP masa harina

Saute onions in a bit of broth or butter if you’d rather.  Saute until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

saute onion

Add garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.

add garlic

Chop or shred the turkey.  I like to use a cutting board that can go into the dishwasher when cutting meat, even if it IS cooked.

chop turkey

Open one can of beans, drain and place into your crockpot.  Mash them so you still have some pieces left.

mash 1 can of beans

Drain the other can of beans and add to the pot.  Add turkey, onions and garlic, green chiles, enchilada sauce and spices.

all in the pot

Cover with broth, give it a stir, cover and set the cooker to low for 5-6 hours. Alternately, set to high for 2-3 hours.

add broth to cover

Whisk masa harina–a corn flour–into the milk.  If you can’t find masa harina, corn meal is ok.  It helps thicken your chili and gives it a fabulous corn tortilla sort of flavor.

mix masa with milk

Add the milk mixture to the crockpot, set it to high and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

add masa milk to pot

Ladle it up in a pretty bowl and cut yourself a slice of crusty bread.  Garnish with cilantro and avocado.  Yum, yum, yummy!

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Just the remedy for a cold and wintry day.  Go ahead.  Have seconds.

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Winter is here to stay in Western Colorado.  Not crazy about the cold, but it sure is pretty.

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Alpenglow is the term used when the setting sun “warms” the nearby Grand Mesa.  Especially pretty in the snow!

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Vegan-tastic Zuppa Toscano

I haven’t been to Olive Garden in quite awhile…all that cheese and cream sauce and sausage, oh my.  I still remember the Zuppa Toscano, though.  Creamy and spicy with potatoes, greens and sausage; an ultimate comfort soup.  A soup you can make a meal out of.  But so not vegan.  Waaaaah.  Until now, that is!  Hurray for cashew cream and vegan sausage!  Hurray for a warm bowl of soup on a cold and rainy night!

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The original recipe’s been making the rounds on Facebook. Aside from veganizing, I also changed up some of the cooking to squeeze out even more flavor.  This link matches the image and the general idea of the recipe shared around Facebook.  Here’s what you’ll need for the vegan version I made:

ingredients

  • 1 lb. vegan Italian-style sausages ( I only had 3 sausages from the 4 pack, which worked out OK and reduced the fat in the recipe)
  • 4-6 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves
  • 32 oz. No Chicken broth
  • 2 c. kale or Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in enough water to cover them by an inch
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Lightly spray a non-stick pan with oil and brown the sausages.

brown sausage

Remove sausages from pan, cut each in half lengthwise and then slice into half-moons.

chop sausage

Chop the onion and peel the garlic.

chop onions peel garlic

Saute the onion in the same pan used for the sausage, adding a bit of No Chicken broth to deglaze the pan, releasing the yummy browned sausage bits into the onion.  Yum.  Saute until onions are translucent; about 5-7 minutes.

saute onions

Mince or press the garlic and add to the pan and continue to cook until garlic becomes fragrant; an additional 30 seconds or so.

add garlic

Scrub and chop potatoes into 1/2″ dice.

chop potatoes

Transfer potatoes, sausage, onions, garlic and 32 oz No Chicken broth to a slow cooker; veggies and sausage should be covered.  Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.  Potatoes should be tender.

sausage onions garlic potatoes and broth in crockpot

After the cooking time, wash kale and remove the stems.  I only needed 2 leaves.  Chop into 1/2 to 1″ -ish pieces.  Small enough to stay on the spoon, but not so fine so it gets lost in the broth.

chop kale

Drain the cashews and place them along with 4 tsp corn starch and 2 cups No Chicken broth into a blender and blend until smooth.  This may take from one to five minutes–check it by rubbing it between your fingers–you want it as smooth as possible.  You may need to scrape down the sides during the blending time.  (Remember how to do this for future creamy soups and sauces–it’s creamy vegan MAGIC!)

cashews corn starch and broth

blend until smooth (1)

Add the kale and cashew cream to the crock pot, and cook an additional 30 minutes on high to thicken.

add kale and cashew cream

Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

season

Ladle into bowls, add a nice warm wedge of bread or bread sticks and prepare to be amazed!  So, so yummy!  Michael pronounced it good enough to include in a weekly rotation; high praise.

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This is definitely NOT low-fat, but not too bad.  Fat comes from that light spray of oil, 10 grams per serving (1 link) of sausage and 13 grams per serving (1/4 cup) of cashews.

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While the soup was warming my house with its spicy aroma, it was cold and drippy outside.  I stood at the window, watching birds busy at the feeders and noticed someone else was watching the birds as well–the neighbor’s cat, Keshet!

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Keshet tends to do more watching than stalking and rarely kills a bird, but I have seen her with a mouse in her mouth, so I’m OK with her bird watching if she also keeps a few mice from trying to get into my house as the weather chills.

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Eventually my cat, Pookie wandered over to watch birds, and Keshet as well.

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You can see how dreary the day was in that last picture.  A great day for a vegan-tastic soup!

 

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Meaty Beany Chili

My fav goddess of all things vegan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, recently published a new cookbook.  Naturally, I felt I NEEDED to buy it, so I did (with a little help from a timely coupon from Barnes and Noble).  Her cookbooks have become the go-tos of my journey into vegan land; great recipes that come together quickly and easily, peppered with Isa’s entertaining brand of snark.  What’s not to love?!  Make this recipe and then trot on out or click into your favorite bookstore to buy a copy of Isa Does It.  You’ll be glad you did!

On with the recipe then.  This is now my go-to chili.  Really meaty without even a touch of real or vegan meat.  Warming.  Spicy.  Satisfying.  You can make it in a crockpot.  Bazinga!  Have a look and see for yourself:

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I altered the original recipe ever so slightly–I only had a 14-oz can of tomatoes, so subbed in some cherry tomatoes I froze from last summer, subbed pinto beans for the kidney beans, and used No Chicken broth to saute the onion, pepper and garlic, as well as in place of the water called for in the original.

ingredients

  • enough No Chicken Broth or Veggie Broth to saute
  • 1 yellow onion, diced medium
  • 1 green pepper, seeded, diced medium
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced (seeded, if you want it less spicy)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Several dashes fresh black pepper
  • 1/8th teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth (plus extra as needed)
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes plus 2 cups frozen, pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Seems like an intimidating list of ingredients, but fear not.  You’ll just methodically measure things out and pretty much dump things into a slow cooker!

First, saute the onion, green pepper and jalapeno until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes or so.

onions and peppers

Add the garlic, and continue to saute until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.

add garlic

Dump the saute into your crock pot along with everything else on the list. Give it a stir, cover, set the cooker on low, and leave it alone for 8 hours–lentils should be tender.  You may want to adjust seasonings after cooking, and possibly add a bit more broth to thin as needed.

saute in the crock pot

add the rest

give it a stir

Voila!  Get home from work, your house smells amazing and you get to enjoy the yummiest chili ever for dinner!

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This is a hearty chili that will not only satisfy, but take the chill out of a winter day.

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You can also make this in a pot on the stove–see the original recipe for instructions.

 

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Lentil, Mushroom and Rice Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce

St. Patrick’s Day is lurking right around the corner; the time of year this Norwegian starts callin’ herself Fiona and enjoys doin’ the Irish thang: the wearin’ of the green, drinking beer, eating corned beef and cabbage…..Wait!  What’s a vegan to do about that last thing?!  Cabbage Rolls!  Cooked just like corned beef and cabbage, spices and all.  Served with Irish Soda Bread and a stout beer.  Who needs the corned beef?yum4

In spite of the use of a slow cooker, this meal is time-intensive.  If you don’t have all day, cook the cabbage to “harvest” the leaves and make the filling the night before or even on multiple nights before.  The mustard sauce can also be made in advance.  Bake the soda bread right before serving dinner for maximum yumminess.

My go-to vegan blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen got the cabbage rolling, my recipe is based on hers.

ingredients cabbage rolls

For the cabbage rolls:

  • 1 large cabbage
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (from 1 1/4 cup dry–follow package instructions, adding 2 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to the pot)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or other cooked grain of your choice:  bulgur, quinoa, barley,….)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  (4 cloves shown, because you need 2 for the lentils)
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Added to the crock pot to make a whole meal:

  • 4 or 5 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled or not)
  • 1 celery heart, chopped
  • 1 TBSP pickling spices
  • 1 stout or porter beer
  • No Chicken broth, for the pot and to saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms

Cook the lentils and rice (separately) according to package directions, adding garlic, salt and pepper to lentils as they cook.

simmer lentils

Cutting at an angle, remove the core from your cabbage, along with any outer leaves that look a bit gnarly.

remove core

Place the cabbage, core-side up in a large pot and fill with water until the cabbage starts to float, or is covered.  Bring to a boil and simmer, carefully pulling off leaves with tongs as they begin to loosen.  I helped some of mine to loosen using a knife near the core end.

simmer cabbage, core up

Collect 10-12 leaves if large, up to 14 if you end up with some smallish ones.

collect leaves as they loosen

Saute onions and garlic in broth until onions start to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes, adding more broth as needed.  Add mushrooms and saute until softened and water that the mushrooms give off has cooked off.

saute onions garlic and shrooms

Combine lentils, rice, mushrooms, onions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl.

mix filling

Trim the thick stem on each cabbage leaf to allow for easier rolling.

trim thick stem

Place about 1/3 cup of filling near the stem end of a cabbage leaf.  I measured for the first leaf, and eyeballed it from there.

place filling near stem

Fold the stem end over the filling.

fold stem end over filling

Fold in each side.

fold sides in

And roll tightly, placing rolls seam-side down in the bottom of your crock pot.  I didn’t have some of mine rolled tightly enough and some of the rolls came apart while cooking.  (Lentils on the loose!)  I would recommend refraining from overfilling your rolls (my tendency) so you can get the cabbage to roll a second time over the filling, or to fasten the rolls with toothpicks.

roll up tightly

Keep rolling and packing.  It’s best to try to squish them all on the bottom in one layer.  My crock pot is smallish and making two layers added to the issue with the rolls coming apart–I think.

place in bottom of cooker

Place carrots, potatoes and celery on top of the rolls.  Sprinkle with pickling spice or place the spice in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag if you want to contain them.  Pour the beer over the top; add No Chicken Broth to cover.

add potatoes carrots celery spices and liquids

Place crock pot on high for 4 1/2 hours.  Sometime during the slow cooking, make the mustard sauce:

ingredients gravy

  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 TBSP miso (white or yellow)
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP soy
  • 4 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • ground pepper

Place broth in a medium pan and heat to a simmer.  Dissolve cornstarch in non-dairy milk, whisk into the simmering broth.  Whisk in miso, nutritional yeast, soy and Dijon.  Add pepper to taste.  Beware–watch this sauce carefully while heating it.  It boils over quickly and will leave quite a mess for you to clean up.  Not that I’ve ever done that……

simmer until thick

Make soda bread right before the cabbage rolls and veggies are ready, open up a nice, cold, dark beer, top everything with a bit (or  lot!) of the mustard sauce and TADA!

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This meal totally has the feel of a corned beef and cabbage meal–just as savory, hearty, filling and yummy!

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I made everything in one day and felt like I’d spent all day cooking and washing dishes.  The meal was so worth it, but I’m using the cook some of it ahead of time method next year!  Happy St Patty’s Day!

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You’d Never Guess it’s Vegan Potato Soup

Not long ago I was strutting about with the perfection of my Best Ham and Potato Soup Ever.  Oh how I loved the ham hock that slow cooked with the potatoes, surrounding them in rich, smoky wonderfulness.  The tender pieces of ham.  The sprinkling of cheese melting into the top.  Yup.  Then Michael and I decided to be vegan for health reasons.  But baby, it’s cold outside!  I wants me some comforting potato soup!

Challenge accepted.

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The changes: milk–becomes unsweetened almond milk, broth becomes “No Chicken Broth”, butter becomes broth, ham hock becomes Hickory Grill Shaker.  Vegan.  Fat-free.  Yummy.

ingredients

  • secret weapon2 -3 TBSP hickory flavoring (I used Hickory Grill Shakers, which also contain salt–add 1 TBSP at a time and taste after to avoid over-salting)
  • 6-7 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1 celery heart, chopped, leaves too
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 quart no-chicken broth or veggie broth
  • pepper to taste
  • 5 TBSP broth
  • 2 TBSP flour (Make this gluten-free by using rice or garbanzo flour, or by using corn starch.)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or soy or oat milk….)

Place 1 quart of broth in large pot over medium high heat.  Mince the garlic, chop the celery, onion and carrots and add them to the pot.

chop onion carrot celery garlic

Then chop the potatoes and add them to the pot.

dice potatos

Add hickory flavoring and season with black pepper to taste.  Add water or additional broth to cover the ingredients if needed.

all in the pot

Cover and cook for half an hour, then transfer everything to a crock pot.  Cook on high for an additional four hours.  This is when your house will have that warm and inviting comfort food aroma.  Mmmmmmm!

Place 5 TBSP broth in a pan over medium heat.

roux

Whisk in flour until it forms a “roux.”  Continue cooking for a minute to cook the “rawness” out of the flour.

Whisk in the almond milk, one cup at a time, and continue whisking until it comes to a boil.

add almond milk

Add milk mixture to the crock pot.

add thickened milk

Ladle up a nice big bowl-full and garnish with a bit of nutritional yeast (nice cheesy flavor, thickening) and fresh chopped green onion.  Maybe toast  a couple pieces of a nice crusty bread.  Now there ya go.

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A wonderful creamy, smoky, comfort-food-yummy soup.

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Both Michael and I were super pleased with how this soup came out.  Mr18 gave it an 8 out of 10, with 10 being the potato soup with ham.  Like most soups, it’s better and thicker the second day.  We had soup and “burgers” tonight–perfect!

We discovered and unexpected bonus while doing dishes.  The crock pot essentially wiped clean!  When I make the soup with ham, regular skim milk and chicken broth, I have to soak and scrub to get the crock pot clean.  This makes me wonder what I’ve been adding to my arteries all these years, and see how a fat free, vegan diet might just clean them all out–just like the studies say!

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Pot Roast For Two

Michael and I are empty nesters now that Mr18 is in college, creating a whole new challenge in cooking.  Most of my recipes work for my family of three with enough leftover for one more meal or lunch.  These very same recipes now last three or four days!  They are yummy, but really.  A couple times is plenty.  I am not an organized “freeze in dinner-sized portions for later” person, although I may learn to be that way.  🙂

Fall has happened and I have begun to yearn for slow-cooked, aromatic fall foods….like pot roast.  Can you imagine how long those leftovers would be around?!  While snooping around the grocery store the other day, I came across a chuck roast package weighing only 1 1/2 pounds!  Perfect!  I could make a tiny pot roast for two! (Now of course, it occurs to me I can buy a regular-sized roast and cut it into smaller portions–duh!) I opened my Julia Child How to Cook for inspiration, (Smothered Brisket of Beef) gathered a very few things and was on my way to fall food yum-a-palooza!  This recipe should double or triple easily for larger families.

(Based on Julia’s recipe, adjusted for amounts and what I had on hand)

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried thyme–fresh is better if you have it)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, pressed or very finely minced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • a few grinds of black pepper, approximately 1/8 tsp
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4-6 small potatoes, washed and cut in half
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut in half

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine salt, thyme and garlic in a small container.

Add oil and whisk together.

Rub the garlic mixture over all surfaces of the roast, place it into a large casserole or slow cooker.  Place potatoes and carrots on top.

On top of that, add the can of tomatoes, including liquid, and the onion.

Cover with the casserole’s lid or foil and place in the oven for 3-4 hours, or slow cooker on high for the same time, or slow cooker on low for 6-7 hours.

Within an hour, your house will start to fill with that wonderful November Sunday dinner at Mom’s or Grandma’s aroma.  At the end of the cooking time, remove from the oven.  Mmmmm! doesn’t that look yummy?!

Remove veggies and roast to a platter or large plate and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain and de-fat the drippings.  You can use a special little pitcher that pours from the bottom, specifically designed for this, or if you have time, place the drippings in the fridge to solidify the fat, or be like me and use a spoon to skim off as much fat as you can.  I’ve also heard you can wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and skim it over the surface to get more fat off, but I wasn’t all that concerned.  Transfer the drippings to a small sauce pan over medium heat.

Take out 1 TBSP of the drippings and place in a small bowl.  Add 1 1/2 tsp corn starch.  Blend well and add back to the pan.  Heat until boiling while stirring, reduce heat to a simmer.  Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Serve up your pot roast in perfect portions and drizzle with the sauce.  Add a slice or two of crusty bread to mop up any leftover sauce.  Alas, in my excitement to consume this yummy meal, I totally forgot to get the bread out!

There. Moist, tender, flavor-y.  Fall comfort food on a plate, just like Mom used to make.  We each had a satisfying portion of roast and veggies and had one more portion left over.  I love cold potatoes and I’ve already snitched a couple from the fridge and plan to use the roast in quesadillas tonight.  As Julia said of this recipe. “It makes prime eating.”

I’ve been somewhat obsessed with Julia lately (I’m on a first-name basis with her, as you can see), having just finished Dearie, a biography.  I’ve also read Julie and Julia, and My Life In France.  I’m all inspired to try more Julia-esque recipes this fall and winter.  Do you have a favorite Julia recipe?

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Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Just in time for St. Patty’s Day–classic Irish comfort food that practically cooks itself!  The March 2012 Everyday Food is full of awesome recipes, including this one.  Can you say yum?

Corned beef briskets are on sale pretty much everywhere right now, making this not only easy, but economical!  Gather everything, and toss it into the crockpot; you’ll have time to try to catch a leprechaun!

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges, root end intact
  • 1/2 pound small potatoes, cut in half if large
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 corned beef brisket (about 3 lbs) and spice packet, or 1 TBSP pickling spice
  • 1/2 head cabbage, Savoy if you can find it, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
  • grainy mustard for serving

Prepare celery, carrots, potatoes and onion.  Place them in a crockpot with thyme.

Place brisket on top, fat side up.  Sprinkle with spices and add enough water to almost cover the meat.  (This completely filled my crockpot–forcing an adjustment later….)

Cover and cook until corned beef is tender.  4 1/2 hours on high, or 8 1/2 hours on low.

Arrange cabbage over meat.  I moved the whole kit and kaboodle to a large pot on the stove–worked just fine.  Cover and continue cooking until cabbage is tender.  45 minutes on high, or 1 1/2 hours on low.  While the cabbage was cooking, I had enough time to make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread!  So fast,so  easy, and the perfect yummy addition to this comfort food meal!

Remove everything from the pot, carve the brisket and serve!  How ’bout a nice, cold, stout beer with this meal?!  Mmmmmm–perfect!

I ended up with not much left over, but plenty of brisket and potatoes to make a corned beef hash to have with over-easy eggs the next morning!  Yum!

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