Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Corned beef


I do try not to serve beige meals, but occasionally I impress myself with the colours on a plate. Tonight's vibrant green and orange are so very pretty.

When I moved to the UK I had no idea that corned beef was held in such poor esteem here - it is entirely associated with the cans of shredded not-sure-what (which my husband makes into a fab, comforting pasta sauce) and not at all with the corned silverside of Australian country Sunday lunches and brilliant sandwiches. Come to think of it, I must find out from my mother how she came to be such a proponent of the art of silverside without being Australian or a country girl... On the other hand, there is a great fondness and respect for the Jewish hot salt beef bar, and from where I sit, salt beef and corned beef are very much the same animal.

Tonight's corned beef was a small piece from a brisket that I cured according to a recipe in Preserved by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton. It's been sitting in the freezer for quite some while, and I am on a bit of a freezer-emptying jag at the moment, so I decided the time had come. With the other piece from this cure, it was a bit too salty, so I soaked this one overnight, before cooking it for 2 1/2 hours in fresh water, with a slosh of vinegar, a bayleaf and an onion spiked with cloves. I don't think the extra flavourings do anything much for the flavour of the meat, but they make the kitchen smell heavenly.

I am very lucky to have found in my husband a soulmate: someone who likes their parsley sauce thick as wallpaper paste, and with far more parsley in it than white sauce just like I do. It is so rare to find that I don't think I will be making parsley sauce for anyone else, ever. So, corned beef, peering from a thick blanket of sauce, with roast butternut pumpkin, some roast cloves of garlic and steamed broccolini. Yum. Nothing like the stuff in cans.

6 comments:

Jacki said...

Yum! I am always nostalgic for family Sunday lunches (and fritters with the leftovers) with corned beef. Our Scottish relatives were also disapproving until they tasted it!

mscrankypants said...

Is that a mustard jar behind the plate? Upon first look, I thought the black silhouette was a naughty cat poking its head up. I'll fetch my glasses before reading next time :-).

Foodycat said...

Definitely a mustard jar - but it does look like very small cat ears!

HH said...

Looks and sounds great, I haven't had Corned beef in ages, I will have to get onto it. I have also been meaning to cure my own since you initially told me about it, so again I will have to do that! So many things to do, so little time!

SSS said...

I used to eat the tinned stuff when I was a student nurse, and again as a staff nurse when I'd spent all my money on fripperies.

Corned beef hash is possibly the tastiest meal on a low budget.

The Cat's Mother said...

I am against vinegar in the cooking water. I think it toughens the meat. I find the bought corned beef less salty these days so don't usually soak it. Recommend Stephanie Alexander's cooking time of 40 min per 1/2 kg.
I would love to read how others do fritters. They are not part of out family food, but my husband thinks they are the best part of having corned beef.

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