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Corned beef, not as Irish as you think...

By March 08, 2023 , , ,

 For this dish, you will need to give yourself a week before you get to taste the results. I tend to use cheaper cuts such as brisket for my corned beef. In this article there's a little bit of history before you get your recipe.

Growing up in Ireland, this is one dish we never actually ate. My first experience of it was when I moved to London and came across salt beef bagels in Brick Lane. 

Corned beef is not and never was never an Irish staple, you may be surprised to hear. In the past beef was considered an expensive commodity and therefore pork, which was cheaper, was more commonly salted. It became popular in America with Irish emigrants as beef was cheaper to buy in the states. It was called "corned" because of the salt kernels used in the curing process. 

Corned beef was produced in some areas in Ireland, but only for export, so may have been eaten in those areas, but not so prevalent. So because of emigrant traditions, in America the dish is associated with Ireland and corned beef and cabbage is a traditional American dish for St Patrick's day. In Ireland however, we're still eating boiled bacon or spare ribs and cabbage. 

Enough of the history lesson and now for the recipes!

The brining is relatively simple as you make a 10% solution, which is 100 grams of salt to one litre of water, and add whatever aromatics you'd like to the brine.The amount of meat you wish to brine is up to you. This time I added cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves. Do make sure the brine covers the meat and it is a good idea throughout the week to turn the once a day in the brine.

One the meat has had at least a week in the brine, you have several options for cooking. The cut of meat is up to you what you would like to use. I tend to go for cheaper and tougher cuts such as brisket.

Slow poach
Cooking it in water and adding aromatics such as bay, thyme, rosemary, cloves etc...
I also like to add onions, garlic and carrots along with the aromatics for more flavour
Poach for at least 3 hours on a low heat
Allow to rest before serving.
Serve American style with boiled potatoes and cabbage or allow to cool and serve with mustard in a sandwich.

Or you can make Corn beef hash with fried eggs and beans

300g cooked salt beef  (I used brisket) - cubed
1 onion sliced
1 clove of garlic grated
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cooked potatoes cubed
1 tin baked beans
2  fried eggs
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onion and garlic till soft and remove to a plate
Next brown off the cubed potatoes and remove to the same plate as the onions
Brown the salt beef
Then add the spuds and the onion back into the pan
Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir
Last add the beans and heat through 
Season to taste and serve with fried eggs on top.

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