Yes, it can be done. I mean, in theory, it should be a no-brainer, right? Well, I felt the need to test so that's what I did this week. I really like the Trader Joe's one. It's all natural corned beef, no added nitrites/nitrates, hormone free. It comes in a brine with seasonings. I put it in the crock pot, poured a bit of water on top (maybe 1/2 - 1 cup) and let it cook.
Instead of simmering in a pot on the stove, use the crock pot. Basically, you have to replicate 3 hours of a simmer. I have found that is 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. The variation comes from how cold your meat is as well as how big it is. I like to err on the longer side to make sure it's cooked just right. If you are leaving in the morning for the day, I would suggest the longer setting on low.
Now, here's the only caveat. You have to add the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots about an hour before you want to serve it. If you tried adding in the beginning of the cooking time, you would have a bunch of mush. Make sure to give yourself that time.
You can remove the meat and allow it to rest on a cutting board, covered, while you cook the veggies and potatoes. I like to use 3-4 peeled carrots, cut into chunks, 1/2 head to a whole head of cabbage, cut into wedges and little "creamer" potatoes (count the number of people eating and multiply by 2 or 3). All of these should cook for 30-45 minutes on high or maybe 60-90 mins on low. Make sure all of the vegetables are tender, checking half way through the cooking time.
Cooking the veggies in the cooking liquid really makes for the perfect sides to the corned beef. If you really are short on time, steam the potatoes, cabbage and carrots (in that order) and then leave in the cooking liquid for 5-10 minutes to get the flavor.
So, working parents, St. Patrick's day is right around the corner. Don't let a Tuesday night deter you from preparing this traditional meal. I have a great Irish soda bread recipe. Look for that later in the week...