Friday, 25 May 2012

Secret Corned Beef

NAME: _Secret Corned Beef

Hunk of beef brisket or similar
1litre water (maybe up to two if needed)
1/2 cup rock salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tbsp green peppercorns
5 - 10 pimento seeds
2 - 5 whole cloves
1 cup red wine vinegar with a dash of Balsamic

(I used a pressure cooker, you can just cook it on the stove but your cooking times etc will vary.)

Put about a third of the water in a small saucepan, add all the seasonings and bring to a boil, allow to simmer for 15 minutes, topping up water if needed to maintain level. After the ingredients have perfused the water and the salt and sugar have dissolved, strain the water into the pressure cooker vessel through a sieve, throw away all the solids.

Allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes and add the beef, rolling it around to baste all over with the strong brine. Keep turning the beef every 10 - 15 minutes for about an hour, then add the rest of the water (making sure it just submerges the beef, hence the need for possibly a bit of extra water) and bring the cooker up to pressure, then cook for 30 - 35 minutes. (Don't release the pressure all at once, as the reduced pressure will lower the boiling temperature of the water, which will then boil faster, leading to a steam runaway.)

Lift the beef out and let it rest in a bowl under a teatowel for an hour or so - it's easy enough to reheat when you need it.

Traditionally served with boiled/steamed cabbage, mashed potato, and a white sauce. I serve it with quartered butter-fried brussels sprouts, mash, and a cheesy bechamel style sauce.

As I said, the meat needs to rest anyway, so you have plenty of time to do other things. It's also good cold in sandwiches and cold cuts plates, and can be fork-shredded and added to a bubble and squeak or red flannel hash.

As I said, you'll take longer if you use a standard saucepan on the stove, also you can marinate the beef in the brine for up to four - six days in the fridge before going on to the cooking stage, if you put it in a plastic bag and seal the beef and brine in that - I'm just impatient and like my beef to still taste beefy. %) The longer you marinate it (within reason) the more the brine will penetrate the beef and the more like corned beef it will taste.



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