For the Best Corned Beef and Cabbage You've Ever Had, Try This Simple Trick
You know that little plastic bag of spices that comes packaged with a raw piece of corned beef? Most recipes and package instructions say to open it and sprinkle it into your cooking pot along with the beef - but, don't do it!
Nobody wants all these spices floating around in your cooking liquid - they're a pain to remove. You have to pick them off of the meat before you slice it, and strain them out of the cooking liquid before you add the cabbage and vegetables. If you don't, you and your guests will have to scrape bits of spice off every bite of food.
Instead, make a sachet d'épices by tying them up in a little square of cheesecloth ($5; amazon.com) with kitchen twine ($6; amazon.com). Sachet d'épices is just the fancy French term for "bag-o-spices." This homemade tea bag allows the spices to infuse their flavor into the cooking liquid while being a cinch to remove when you're done with them.
To make a cheesecloth bag, fold a large square of cheesecloth into two to four layers. Heap the spices in the center of the cloth and gather up the corners to meet in the middle. Close up the bag with kitchen twine, making sure there are no gaps for the spices to escape. When your corned beef and cabbage is finished cooking, remove the bag with a slotted spoon ($7; amazon.com) and discard.
If you don't have any cheesecloth hiding somewhere in your pantry, it's easy enough to find at your local supermarket, or online at Amazon.