I found this recipe and tried it last night. It is the best way I have found to desalinate the corned beef a little, and the meal comes out perfectly!
1 (3 pound) slab of corned beef, preferably home made (I had a store bought brisket)
2 tablespoons pickling spices, preferably home made (I used a tea ball)
8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ segments
2 onions halved
2 pounds of potatoes, peeled, cleaned and cut in half
1 small head of cabbage, outer leaves removed, cut in quarters
Open the package the meat came in and dump out all the liquid. Rinse thoroughly. Trim off all the fat cap. The place in cold water and soak for half an hour.
Corned beef is essentially pickled in salt, and straight out of the pack it is way too salty. Before we can eat this cured meat, we need to cook it and desalinate it a bit. Place the beef in a large pot along with enough hot water to cover it by at least 1″ and put the lid on.
Turn the heat to medium and bring to a low simmer for 30 minutes. Do not let it boil. If you boil it, it will get tough and shrink. Beware that the meat is cold, so when it warms the water will slowly move from simmer to boil. Keep an eye on it and do not let it boil.
After 30 minutes, dump out the water and cover the meat with fresh hot water. This time add the pickling spices. (I used the tea ball to hold the spices)
Bring to a low simmer again, this time for 1 hour.
Again dump the water and pickling spices and replace it with fresh hot water. Bring to a low simmer and let it simmer for 1 hour. Add the carrots and onions. After 30 minutes add the potatoes. After 30 minutes add the cabbage. After 20 minutes the cabbage will be done and so should everything else. But remember to check.
Remove the meat and place it on a carving board. There are often two horizontal muscles separated by a thick layer of fat. Separate them by sliding a knife through the fat. Carve and/or scrape off the fat layer. Carve the meat by cutting across the grain about the thickness of a pencil. Any thinner and it will fall apart, any thicker and it will be chewy.
Lift out the cabbage, potatoes and carrots and onions and divide them into serving bowls. Place the meat in the bowl. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over them and serve. Happy Holiday!