Ask A Philadelphia Chef: Top Corned Beef And Cabbage Recipes

March 19, 2014 9:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

There are few dishes more quintessentially Irish than corned beef and cabbage. Classically made with corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes, this hearty dish is a fuss-free meal that can be served year-round. Of course, it’s especially popular around St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re still in the mood to celebrate Irish heritage this week, make this family-friendly dinner with a recipe from Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operating tavern.

Mary Ellen Mullins
McGillin’s Old Ale House
1310 Drury St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 735-5562

With a history going back to before Philly was famous for its cheesesteaks, McGillin’s opened its doors in 1860. In the time since, the pub has only been owned by two families, which plays a large role in the familiar, friendly atmosphere that guests love. Good, affordable food and 29 local beers on tap (as well as plenty of European stouts and ales) keep people coming back. The menu boasts comfort favorites such as shepherd’s pie, grilled reubens and hot roast beef sandwiches, and every lunch comes with a complimentary bowl of soup. The corned beef and cabbage is typically only served around St. Patrick’s Day, but with this recipe from Mary Ellen Mullins (co-owner with her husband Chris Mullins), you can enjoy this traditional Irish meal at home whenever you want. And take note, this recipe makes a large batch, so it’s perfect for parties or freezing for easy weeknight meals.

Related: Ask A Philadelphia Experts: Top Barbecue Recipes

Mary Ellen Mullins’ Home-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef Ingredients:

  • 12-15 pounds corned beef
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place corned beef, water and vinegar in a roasting pan.
  3. Evenly add spices by sprinkling over the corned beef.
  4. Roast for 3 hours.
  5. Strain juice from the pain and reserve.

Cabbage Ingredients:

  • 1 white cabbage, cut in 8 wedges
  • 2 pounds carrots, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a toothpick, skewer each cabbage wedge so that it keeps its shape while cooking.
  3. Place the cabbage and carrots in a pan, spreading evenly.
  4. Add water and sprinkle salt and pepper over the pan.
  5. Cook for 1 hour.
  6. Strain and reserve juices.


  • 5 pounds red bliss potatoes, cut in half
  • 5 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Toss ingredients to mix thoroughly.
  3. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.

Plated dish:

  1. Mix reserved juices from beef and cabbage.
  2. Place corned beef, cabbage and carrots on a plate.
  3. Arrange potatoes around the sides and add a bit of the juices over the whole plate.

Related: Ask A Philadelphia Chef: Top Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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