This is my roommate, Lindsay's first experience with corned beef. I feel so proud.
Corned Beef is so easy to corn yourself. Corning is the process of curing a meat with salt and seasonings. It's called corning because the slat that was used back in the day was corn kernel sized. Nowadays you can just used regular kosher salt, and a few spices:
Mustard Seeds or Mini Eggs
Clockwise(ish) from the top: Mace, Juniper Berries, Allspice, Toasted Coriander Seeds, Black and Yellow Mustard Seeds, Hot Pepper Flakes, Ginger, Bay Leaves, Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks (not pictured)
Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle, and add to a pot of water with salt. I threw in some dried chilies for good measure, and something sweet ( i did sugar and maple syrup), and cure, and boil to dissolve the salt and sugar. Cool the water, and add the giant 7 pound beef brisket to the mix. Refrigerate for 5-6 days.
7lb Corned Beef I picked up at My Butcher and More in Clock Tower (Annapolis, MD)
When I was ready to cook the beef I poured out all the seasonings, put the beef in a fresh pot of H2O with some more pepper corns, the original dried chilies, and a quartered onion. I simmered it for a total of 4.5 hrs.
While the beef was cooking I chopped up some cabbage to make mock sauerkraut. I added salt, sugar, h20, rice vinegar, white vinegar, red wine vinegar, and 2 strips of bacon and boiled it all together the whole time the beef cooked.
I also cored some portabellos, and sauteed the interiors, along with some mixed wild mushrooms, thyme, butter, and garlic in a pan.
AND I chopped some collards and sauteed them with leeks, and oil and salt and garlic until tender, and for good measure I added about 1cup of the beef broth to the collards and cooked that down.
I roasted some sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes and made hash, adding the collard mix and the mushrooms, almost like the hash I made for my Collard Hash Wraps with Jameson Mustard Cream Sauce. I roasted the portabello tops and stuffed them with the hash, covered that with panko crumbs and a bit of grated parmigiano reggiano and broiled that in the oven till toasty.
At this point I'd had enough with the good camera so we switched to the iphone.
For a while I was so worried that my corned beef wasn't going to be tender. During the last hour that changed rapidly.
When the beef came out it was beautifully tender and fatty and flavorful. Chris wanted to ut off the fat!!!!
He rapidly realized that was just plain dumb.
I guess I should have corned the beef another day because the very center didn't cure. You can see the brown stripe through the center. Didn't effect the taste though.
Mom did try to make rye bread, which tasted good, but hurt my foot when I dropped it.
So that was it. We finally ate.
I had so much fun.
Next month: Tasso Ham