The Most Useful Trick I Learned This Weekend?

Using my oven as a slow cooker.

I know that for all you culinary experts out there, this is probably a pretty elementary concept. But for me, it was like getting the super-secret password to big-batch cooking!

Last week, I had a cooking quandary. I was planning a Paddy’s Day corned beef and cabbage  dinner for about a dozen adults, and another 1/2 dozen kiddies, all stemming from my quaint, far-from-commercial kitchen. In the past, I prepared it on the stove stop, or in my slow cooker, but those were meals for 4-6 people. This weekend, I was planning on a houseful (and I was kind of hoping to have some leftovers to boot.) There is no way that 14 pounds of corned beef would fit into my little crock-pot.

Near panic, I decided that there is no conundrum that the Google Search engine cannot solve. Sure enough, I found several sites with easy-to-follow directions on transforming my giant oven into a slow cooker for the day.

It was wonderfully easy!

Corned Beef

I simply used an extra-large aluminum steam table pan, and laid out my brisket. I added just enough water to cover the meat and my own special spices (alas there was no spice packet included in this brisket).  I covered the pan with foil, and braised the beef for about 7 hours at 300.

After 6 hours, I drained some of the savory broth from the pan, and added it to my stockpot, where I was simmering my vegetables.


The Vegetables
Using the broth to simmer the veggies

The corned beef was moist and flavorful, and broke apart easily with a fork. The veggies tasted like they were boiled right along with the beef.

The best part was that the food was ready shortly before guests arrived. I carved the corned beef, and returned it to the pan after draining dome of the extra liquid. Then, I transferred the veggies to another aluminum pan, leaving just enough liquid to keep everything moist. I placed the veggies in the warm oven next to the corned beef. I had plenty of time to enjoy my company (and a pint of Guinness) before serving the meal.

When everyone was ready to eat, all I had to do was pull both pans from the oven, and peel off the foil. Voila!

4 thoughts on “The Most Useful Trick I Learned This Weekend?

  1. Micro wave oven is a life saver too. And if there is not enough regular meal because of extra guests an alternative meal from the mic should be appreciated. OK, so it’s not and alternative meal but an emergency meal. They can eat it or go to Subway.

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