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New England Boiled Dinner

Contributed by: Marcia Passos Duffy

If you're like me, you save the corned beef & cabbage dinner for that one special day a year -- St. Patrick's Day. (Incidentally, despite the Duffy surname, I am 'Irish' only by marriage.)

After a whole year, I always forget how to cook corned beef, but I always refer back to my favorite recipe - New England style with extra vegetables (you could add more veggies if you'd like, such as turnips and parsnips) -- that never fails to get rave reviews from my real Irish husband.

  • 4-5 pound corned brisket of beef
  • Cold water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 carrots, peeled
  • 8 potatoes, peeled
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cut into quarters

Cover the beef with cold water and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out the excess salt. Remove beef and discard the water. Place the beef in a large pot and cover with fresh cold water. Add the basil, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim the fat from the surface as necessary. Cook gently for 3-4 hours until the beef is fork-tender.

About 30 minutes before serving, add all the vegetables, except the cabbage. Add the cabbage 15 minutes before serving. Turn up the heat when adding the vegetables so that the broth is boiling. Turn down the heat to a simmer once broth boils. To serve, place the beef on a large platter and surround with the vegetables. Traditional accompaniments to a boiled dinner are pickled beets, mustard pickles and corn bread.

About The Author:

Marcia Passos Duffy is the publisher of The Heart of New England online magazine. Subscribe today to her newsletter by sending a blank email to heartofnewengland - subscribe@ or visit

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