New England is known for a few specialities, like Boston brown bread and Grape-Nuts custard. But, it’s also home to the famous boiled dinner- a humble supper for busy nights. Most recipes call for a beef brisket, but you can use other types of meat instead if you like. I’ve heard stories that during lean times the cook of the house might have used only a bone leftover from another dinner to flavor the pot.
The rest of the flavor comes from the spices you use and the veggies and potatoes in the mix. If you don’t have brisket you can use corned beef instead, but lose the salt if you’re using this meat since it’s already salted.
After that you simply fill the pot with water and let it boil away. It takes about 3 hours for the meat to come to fully cook. You want to make sure the meat is submerged in water during the cooking process so that you don’t end up with unevenly cooked meat.
You can gently flip the meat part way if it isn’t cooking evenly. Then add the veggies closer to the end of cooking so they don’t get too soft.
Once the meat is done carefully remove it from the pot to the cutting board to slice it. To serve group together potatoes with potatoes on the plate, carrots with carrots, and so on. And voilà: you’ve got everything you need on one plate.
You can serve the broth as a side or pour it over the meat and veggies if you serve it in a deeper plate or bowl.
If you still need another side a slice of good bread with some butter does the trick. It’s not fancy cuisine, but it’s good eatin’ that has been a New England favorite for many generations. Sometimes you just can’t beat a simple, home-cooked meal of meat and veggies.
New England Boiled Dinner
25m prep time
4h cook time
- 3 lbs beef brisket or chuck roast
- 15 peppercorns
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- kosher salt, if using fresh beef
- 2 white onions, peeled and quartered
- 4 red potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3 large carrots, halved and cut into 3” pieces
- 1 small head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
- horseradish sauce, mustard, or both, for serving
- Add meat, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf to stockpot. Add enough water to cover meat. Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart of water -about 3 teaspoons depending on size of pot.
- Bring to rapid boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and let simmer for 3-4 hours or until meat reaches internal temperature of 145˚F to 155˚F.
- Add onions, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Bring to rapid simmer and cook vegetables for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Add more salt if needed.
- Remove roast to cutting board and slice. Serve in deep plates or wide bowls with some of the vegetables. Pour a bit of broth on top of each serving or serve as a side of soup.
- Garnish meat with some horseradish or spicy mustard to serve.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.