Corned Beef Chowder

I’ll say yes to corned beef done in so many different ways, whether as corned beef on rye, or in hash, or in a chowder. It happens that this chowder recipe is a true winner. It takes a little time, but very little effort. It can be done over the course of a day, but I do it over two days.

Our local market packages chunks of corned beef with a pickling brine. I have also seen the same packaging at other markets. I bought a piece that was just shy of two pounds, and emptied the contents into my slow cooker, along with 6 cups of water. I then stirred in two heaping tablespoons of “Better Than Bouillon” — the veggie version. (Or you can use 6 cups of packaged veggie bouillon.)

This is about noon on day one, with the cooker set to high. After a good six hours, I removed the corned beef, and put it a covered bowl to refrigerate. I strained the liquid, moving it to a covered bowl and put it in the fridge overnight as well. Cooling the liquid will cause any fat to rise to the surface.

Early on day two I skimmed fat from the strained liquid, then put it back in the slow cooker, adding the following:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 half small cabbage, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon leaves

After about three hours on high heat, I blended the mixture, adding salt and pepper to taste (little salt needed as the brine gives off great flavour).

And finally, to finish the chowder, I added the corned beef, having chopped it into 1/2 inch pieces, the other half of the small cabbage, again chopped, before opening two cans of cream potato soup (yes, seems to be cheating, but whatever works). Stir it all together, and at low heat, slow cook for another 2 to 3 hours. It should come out creamy in the end, but be prepared to add 2 tablespoons of corn starch (mixed to a paste in water) to get the consistency you want.