Corned beef cook-up
Are you looking for a simple Sunday dinner that will give you leftovers for an easy Monday meal? A corned beef cook-up could be the answer. Corned beef is made by "curing" a cut of beef in salt or a spiced brine to preserve and make it tender. Saltpeter( Potassium Nitrate) is added as part of the "cure", which is what gives it its familiar pink colour. In New Zealand a cut of silverside is the most commonly chosen to corn and, as such, we often call corned beef "silverside". Because of the brining, this meat can be salty so it must be blanched before cooking. To do this, put the meat into a large pot and cover it with cold water, bring to the boil, skim off any debris that forms on the surface then drain off the water, rinse the pot and begin the cooking. It's important that the pot is large enough to allow the meat to be covered and surrounded by a good amount of water.
- Bring the meat gently to the boil and simmer until tender. Top up the water during this time so the meat remains covered.
- The time will vary with the size of your corned beef but the meat should be easily prised with a knife. A great cooking friend of mine suggests you should be able to poke a straw into it. I prefer mine a little firmer but that is up to you.
- Remove the meat from the pot and keep it warm. Strain out the bits and pieces from your poaching liquid and return this to the pot.
- Taste to make sure it is not too salty, if so add more water.
- Poach some peeled small potatoes and sliced or baby carrots till tender in this "stock".
- Finely slice some cabbage. Put some butter in a pan and heat to melt, add your cabbage, a little water and lots of black pepper.
- Toss the cabbage until nicely wilted, watching carefully. There is nothing worse than burned cabbage.
- Slice the corned beef and make a plate with the sliced meat, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Pour a little of the poaching liquid over this.
- Serve with hot mustard or a fruity chutney (a tammarillo one would be nice).
- If you are not serving immediately allow the meat to cool in the cooking liquid and refrigerate. You are now able to reheat or use it cold, but is important to keep it moist. You can also add other ingredients to achieve different flavours parsley stalks bay leaves garlic cloves fresh ginger star annise five spice orange zest spring onion tops leek tops fresh or dried red chili, seeds removed It's also important to get the sweet/sour balance right. To adjust, add brown sugar, flavoured vinegars or lemon juice.