There are many people who hate corned beef but there are probably as many who love it. I am one of the latter. I could eat it til the cows come home – pardon the pun.
When I was in a hostel at Canterbury University many moons ago one of the regular meals in the dining room was corned beef or silverside. Fortunately for me not many of my friends enjoyed it like I do and so I was always able to get extra portions.
Corned beef is a distinctly Irish dish and was almost certainly always served with cabbage. According to the Epicurious website “to ‘corn’ something is simply to preserve it in a salty brine (the term corn refers to the coarse grains of salt used for curing). In the days before refrigeration, corning was essential for storing meat, especially from large animals like cows. Historically, beef that was slaughtered and corned before the winter was served with the first fresh spring cabbage to break the Lenten fast on Easter.”
The hostel recipe was much the same as my mother always cooked it – slowly, in one pot, with onions, carrots and cabbage. And ALWAYS serve with mashed potato. Mustard sauce on the meat topped the whole experience off nicely.
Well, that’s the way I have been cooking it for the last 20 years until last year Craig showed me a simpler and much more succulent way of serving this classic dish.
Trim off the excess fat, season and wrap well in tinfoil – you want to trap as much liquid as possible. Bake in moderate oven (150-180 C) for at least 2 hours (or until cooked – it will lose a lot of weight if overdone).
You could optionally slather tomato puree over the meat but to be honest, other than a good dollop of mustard on the plate, the meat has plenty of flavour without this.
Try this – you’ll love it.